Issue Number 32
December 2017

Jack Delmo, Intermediate Accountant, recently volunteered with the Ti Tree School in the Northern Territory. Jack shares his experiences with us.

In September, I embarked on a journey with two friends, Eliza and Grace. We travelled from Melbourne to a small town called Ti Tree in the Northern Territory. It was here that we would spend a week volunteering at the Ti Tree School.

Ti Tree is a small town in the Central Desert region, approximately 195km north of Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway. Ti Tree's population is made up mostly of white Australians however it is the surrounding communities that give this town its unique character. 

The Ti Tree School is attended by Indigenous Australian students. The school offers Pre-school up until Year 9. Each morning the students are picked up from two communities, Pmara Jutunta (6 mile) and Nturiya (Station) and driven to the school. Once at school, they are provided with breakfast and then they begin their school day. The school has approximately 100 students enrolled, with attendance varying each day. The School Principal, Geoff Gillman and his staff do an amazing job encouraging the children to attend school regularly and participate in all schooling activities. 

While this is not your typical primary school, there was a unique charm about the Ti Tree School. Most students arrived barefoot everyday having slept in overcrowded houses in 35 degree heat. Despite the conditions, all the children greeted us with huge smiles and by the end of the week we had formed strong bonds and friendships with the kids.

During the day we would help out in the class room with reading and maths and with the Enterprise Project – Ti Tree School Op Shop. The sheer enjoyment the kids seemed to have by having us in around the school, helping wherever we could was extremely rewarding for us. By being present in the class room and around the school we were hoping to have a positive influence over the kids and encourage them to come to school every day and try their hardest. 

In the evenings we would drive out to the communities with sporting equipment and run activities for the kids. This was probably the most eye opening experience for us all. The communities are extremely run down and living conditions were some of the worse that I had ever seen. Despite these conditions, the children seemed some of the happiest kids I had ever met.

On our last day, we organised a BBQ for the community of Six Mile.. It was great to see the whole community come together and share some stories with us. These people had a profound effect on us all! 

With the help of Mclean Delmo Bentleys, we organised the donation of sporting equipment, children’s t-shirts and hats. The joy on the kids’ faces when they first saw all the sporting equipment that they would be able to use is something I will never forget.

I know that all the children and staff were extremely grateful for the contribution made by Mclean Delmo Bentleys and this is just another incentive for the children to attend school and further their education.

The children and people of Ti Tree and surrounding communities have made a huge impact on myself, Eliza and Grace, and we are all hoping that through our week there we were able to impact theirs in one way or another.

We hope to return to Ti Tree again and continue to build a relationship between Mclean Delmo Bentleys and the school into the future.

Jack Delmo
Intermediate Accountant

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