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Tree planting project enhancing the life skills of disadvantaged teens

Greater Bank’s 75 Year tree planting program has provided an important opportunity for a group of Cessnock-based teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop important skills for life.Tree Planting

Participants in Youth of The Street’s Hunter Suspension Program travelled to Wyong on the Central Coast on the 26th May and were joined by Greater Bank employees and community volunteers who together planted 3000 trees donated by the financial institution for the Porter’s Creek site.

The project is part of Greater Bank’s 75 Year anniversary project that will see them plant 75,000 trees across its areas of operation in NSW and South-East Queensland.

The Hunter Suspension Program, which was funded by Greater Charitable Foundation from 2019 to 2021, is aimed at addressing the high rate of school suspensions and expulsions in the Hunter area by offering tutoring and a support program for young people to access while they are suspended from school. Youth off the Streets works closely with their families, schools, and community organisations, to assist their transition back into school.

Youth off the Streets Program Manager, Kim Leonard, said that opportunities like the one offered by Greater Bank allows the participants to positively connect with the community, build relationships and develop life skills.

“Our programs are focused on providing positive, strengths-based activities and initiatives for young people experiencing disadvantage. Through opportunities such as the Greater Bank tree planting, we empower them to make a positive contribution to future generations,” Kim said.

“The teenagers who took part in the tree planting not only had the chance to learn about the environment and horticulture but were also able to practice generosity and build essential skills for employability, such as teamwork, collaboration and goal setting.

“Greater Bank’s 75th-anniversary tree planting campaign has provided a great opportunity to get our young people involved in a positive activity and introduce them to a long-term supporter of our programs.

“Throughout Youth off the Street’s 30 years of serving the community, partnering with supporters and other stakeholders has been key to making a positive impact in the community.”

Greater Charitable Foundation’s CEO, Anne Long, said that beyond the environmental benefits the tree planting program has provided, it has also provided a wonderful opportunity to share the experience with community representatives, including Foundation partners.

“Greater Charitable Foundation has a strong and proud tradition of partnering with organisations that provide practical, life-changing initiatives that directly support families and communities,” Anne said.

“This tree planting program also allowed us to expand our partnership offering with Youth off the Streets beyond financial support and provide this important experience that will enhance the participants’ practical skills and personal development by engaging with our staff and other members of the community.”

Greater Bank announced last August that it was planting 75,000 trees in the areas it calls home across regional NSW to mark 75 years of growing greater together. To date, more than 150 Greater Bank employees and community volunteers have assisted in planting 70,000 trees across the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra, and New England region.

The anniversary project is set to wrap up in Newcastle in August.

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