"Despite the best efforts of the mainstream school system many of these kids came to us unable to read", said Rev. Crews. "They often lacked the most basic of reading skills. Over 20 weeks we took them from below the NAPLAN average to above it. These kids have shown dramatic improvement in all the measured areas of literacy."
The Exodus Foundation's literacy program operates in Ashfield, Redfern, Gladstone and in three locations in Darwin. Former Prime Minister Howard was instrumental in supporting its expansion into these areas of greatest need. Commenting ahead of the graduation, Mr. Howard said: "Literacy is a key to breaking the poverty cycle".
The Exodus Foundation's literacy program was devised by Macquarie University and since its inception a decade ago over 1,100 students have graduated. It is conservatively estimated that by teaching these children the literacy skills they need $552 million will be saved over their lifetimes in welfare payments and other governmental expenses.
"We're breaking the poverty cycle. Our kids become net financial contributors to society, simply by teaching them how to read." said Rev. Crews.