Gunnedah and District Education Fund helps Megan Isbester and Ivy Watterson

The Gunnedah and District Education Fund is making a real impact on the future leaders coming out of the area.

YOUNG ACHIEVERS: Megan Isbester and Ivy Watterson have benefited from the Gunnedah community’s generosity and are urging school leavers to apply for a grant from the Country education Foundation.

YOUNG ACHIEVERS: Megan Isbester and Ivy Watterson have benefited from the Gunnedah community’s generosity and are urging school leavers to apply for a grant from the Country education Foundation.

The Gunnedah local foundation is a part of the Country Education Foundation. The goal of the charity is to give rural and regional youth the chance to pursue education, training and career opportunities.

CEF and its local foundations do this in a real and tangible way, with monetary grants raised in and by the community, for its local youth.

Megan Isbester, a third-year teaching student, and Ivy Watterson, a marketing officer who graduated university in 2016, have nothing but praise for the help they have received.

The two young women, driven by their desire for an education and careers, applied for grants from the community-based charity. It helped them with the costs that have come with moving away from home to go to university.

Ivy, who now works in Armidale, said she was able to use the money in a real way.

“That helped me with accommodation, it supplemented what I was earning while I was working,” Ivy said.

Ivy received $9000 in total over her three years of support from the Country Education Foundation local foundation of Gunnedah, she said it helped ease the burden on her parents too.

“I was concerned about the cost; I knew that I wanted to go to college but I didn’t really comprehend how hard it would be to study, work and try to pay for it all. I really wanted to be able to do it myself, and not ask for my parents’ help, I’m a little bit stubborn like that!” Ivy laughed.

“I couldn’t just rely on my parents to fund college, especially because it’s something I wanted to do.

“I enjoyed working as well, but it meant I didn’t have to work as much and I was able to study, and enjoy college life.”

Megan, who is completing her third year of a primary teaching degree and works as a personal trainer both in Wollongong and Gunnedah said she feels the impact of the Gunnedah community’s generosity every day.

“The three lots of $3000 from CEF has just helped me so much, I’ve put it all toward my rent,” Megan said.

“You need money to live, you need money to be social and have fun with your friends.

“But it was a great start and really helped. I’m very fortunate.”

The 2018 Gunnedah and District Education Fund grant applications are now open for school leavers looking to go to university, TAFE or study through work.

To apply you must be between 16 and 25, show that you are passionate about your future, and demonstrate your financial need.

It was Ivy who encouraged Megan to apply to the Gunnedah and District Education Fund, a member of the Country Education Foundation. They are telling their stories to encourage this year’s school leavers to apply for a grant too.

“Put your name in the hat, it’s an amazing help and assistance,” Megan said.

“It’s a worthy experience and the interviews are a great way to boost your confidence.

“The money is an amazing support, but the whole opportunity of the application and interview process is really worthwhile.”

Ivy said it was “kind of daunting” as the first in her family to pursue university, but the application and interview process wasn’t overwhelming.

“The interview was casual, and I didn’t feel out of place,” Ivy said.

“It was motivating to know there are people out there who do want to see you succeed, and get out there and have a go.”

To school leavers and those students still at school but interesting in uni and TAFE Ivy said: “Just focus at school and express what you’re passionate about. When you do tell other people what your passions and interests are you see they’re more than happy and want to support you, they do want to see you succeed. Always be honest, always be yourself.

“Don’t be afraid to apply. Just put yourself out there.”

The 2018 Gunnedah and District Education Fund grant applications are now open. Applications close December 31, 2017. To apply go to www.cef.org.au/foundations/gunnedah/