Photo: Laura Hants being presented her education grant award last year

Applications for the Yass District Education Foundation’s grants close soon – The not-for-profit provides much-needed financial assistance and support to local youth in the Yass, Murrumbateman, Gundaroo, Sutton, Bookham and Bowning area.

A branch of the Country Education Foundation, the group aims to help young people with their post high school education, training and vocation aspirations.

Publicity Officer Deb Lawton said they just want to be able to help as many people as they can.

“That could be in a range of different ways, predominately financial but it could also be linking a new student up with an existing student at University or providing some work experience opportunities for people utilizing our network,” Deb said.

One way the foundation provides assistance is to reimburse eligible students for supplies like laptops, tools of the trade (shearing, mechanic, carpentry), uniforms (chef, nurse), textbooks, or accommodation.

But Deb said the group takes a flexible approach so if some students can’t afford a laptop upfront, they can look at options to achieve that goal.

Yass local Laura Hants is finishing up her Bachelor of Nursing at ACU to commence work at Calvary Hospital in Canberra and was aided by the Yass District Education Foundation throughout the last three years of her degree.

The soon-to-be 21-year-old was assisted with textbooks and uniforms in her first year but was able to buy a laptop in her second year.

In her final year, YDEF assisted Laura with petrol and supplies when she had over 500 hours of practical placement.

“They’ve just been an incredible organization that have helped so so much, it’s been awesome.”

Laura said the foundation also allowed her to continue saving throughout university enabling her to move to Canberra this year.

YDEF also connects new regional students with other students from Yass to provide a mentor as they get settled in.

“They were really great when I first started with the foundation, and they connected me with some of the students who were going to be at ACU studying nursing as well.”

Laura has also acted as a mentor herself for some of the new students being assisted through the foundation.

“They connected me with some of the students who were studying nursing,” she said. “We exchanged phone numbers and I was able to check in with those students kind of starting off as I was finishing up.”

Apply through the Country Education Foundation or call Deb Lawton on 0419 280 813.

By Brianna O’Rourke