Sam Giles is not quite 12 years old, but already he’s making a difference.
In the past few months Sam has been very busy organising events at his school to raise much-needed funds for ILF. The biggest fundraiser by far at St Peters Lutheran College, in the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly, is expected to be the Great Book Swap, to be held at Sam’s school on Monday 22 August, in the school library.
In 2015, Sam and his dad went to Darwin and drove down to Katherine in the NT. On this trip, Sam saw for himself that many Indigenous kids living in remote communities have few or no books available and are often unable to read and write.
“Lots of the kids have very poor literacy,” says Sam, “but we take being able to read and write for granted.”
Inspired by this first-hand knowledge, Sam and his dad decided to do what they could to ensure all Australian kids have the opportunity to learn to read and write. A year later, Sam is a proud ILF Student Ambassador, working hard to raise funds and awareness among the students and teachers at St Peters.
Sam has been advertising the Great Book Swap by making announcements at school assemblies - and then following this up by going to each form class to remind students about the event. He has the support of his Principal, who “thinks it’s really cool, a great idea”.
The school librarian has been especially helpful, setting up tables in the library for the Great Book Swap, and drawing up a timetable so that each class gets a turn to peruse the books and select which to take home - for a gold coin donation. Lots of eager students have already brought in books to be swapped.
Not content with planning a Great Book Swap, Sam also organised a bake sale. Held at the beginning of August, it “went very very well”, raising about $200. Some of Sam’s classmates baked cakes and sweet treats for the sale, while others lent a hand behind the counter. There was a table of smaller items at 2 for $1, and a table of larger ones for $1 each. The Oreo fudge that a girl in his class made sold out very fast!
Prior to this, Sam organised a Choc Toss. Every day at lunchtime for a couple weeks, “there were long lines” of students keen to have a go at $1 for 3 tosses. The prizes of bites, bars or blocks of chocolate (depending on what square you landed on!) were generously donated by the school librarian at St Peters.
And Sam also held raffles, with tickets 5 for $1. Yet again, prizes were donated.
“Quite a few people were wanting to help out with selling the tickets,” says Sam.
All up, in the last six weeks, Sam and his fellow students at St Peters have raised $2,000 for ILF - and the Great Book Swap is yet to come.
Sam is keen to continue fundraising for ILF next year when he’s in Year 7. And he’s passionate about spreading the word about Indigenous literacy.
“It’s a privilege if you can read and write,” he says. “We are very lucky.”
We’ve been deeply moved by Sam's ambition and passion, who wants all Indigenous children to have the opportunity to enjoy books like he does. He is an inspiration for all young leaders! If you're interested in arranging an event or fundraiser for ILF with your school, find out more here.