Educational trailblazers in Greater Dandenong have taken out trophies at the state’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence.
Wellsprings for Women, South-East Monash Legal Service, and a partnership between Dandenong Primary School and Dandenong police were recognised at the awards on 7 December.
Victorian School of Languages – South East was also highly commended.
Wellsprings won the category of pre-accredited community-based education and training for its Family Learning Partnership program.
Led by teacher Shipra Plander and co-ordinator Marie Marzovilla, the program engaged with socially-isolated women and children from refugee and migrant backgrounds who have complex barriers to education.
Since the first Covid lockdown, Wellsprings sourced 160 free devices to keep learners connected for online learning and to access vital support services.
South-East Monash Legal Service won the justice award for its flagship program Sporting Change.
With the help of an integrated school lawyer, the program uses sport to educate young people from diverse backgrounds about the justice system.
As a result, some of the participants were inspired to study law, youth work and community development.
In the police community exemplary award, Dandenong Primary School and local police teamed together for Eyewatch, which identified barriers to family violence reporting and safety.
A second innovation, the Embedded Youth Outreach Program, paired a specialist youth worker with uniform police to assist young people recently in custody.
They produced training videos with teachers, police and youth workers.
Victorian School of Languages South East was highly commended for its innovative teaching to help families maintain their culture and languages.
It runs a reading challenge to encourage children to read books in their own language, as well as include stories from family and community members.