We’re proud to share the stories of some of our young people.
“I would like to thank you very much for the help that I received in getting the Western chances scholarship. You and the organisation, Western Chances, truly help people reach their full potential. I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity do study, so I can one day make a difference. There would be so many people in developing countries, or even less fortunate people of industrialised places, that wouldn't have a tenth of the chance that I've been given. I will certainly make the most of the opportunity given to me.” - Jesse, student
“Western Chances scholarships meant I was able to study without all the worries about the costs. I have invested all this money into my studies and I will use all my skills, knowledge and abilities to support the Australian community and others who need help.” - Billiang, student
“I received your support at high-school until 2009 and then for two years at Victoria University. I am now a very happy and independent student at Monash University, studying Psychology. Your support and faith made a huge difference to my life and I cannot thank you enough!” - Stacey, student
”I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Western Chances for arranging my 3 month work placement and for their ongoing support through my later schooling years. All in all, I have definitely taken away many skills and much knowledge about fulltime work. I even have referees to use for future support in work placement.” - Joel, student
“I have been given a great opportunity to help my educational pathway and I want to make the most of it. With the support of Western Chances my schooling years are a positive experience.” - Anonymous, student
“I've been meaning to write to Western Chances to express my deepest gratitude for opening me to such an incredible experience. I must admit, I was slightly hesitant at first because I had a lot of work I wanted to complete on the holidays but after the first day, I was indubitably certain that this camp was something I was never going to regret. During my time there, I've learnt so much more than I thought possible. The experiences and people I've met on camp have truly made such a huge impact on my life. Every person I talked to helped further enhance my understanding of the world around me and taught me something new. I enjoyed every moment on camp and the experience has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity. Coming back to the new semester, I've had more gained profound confidence, passion and knowledge unlike anything before and I think I can safely claim that this was due from my experiences on camp. There is so much more I’d love to discuss about and I'd be delighted for the chance to talk to Emma! This is truly the least I can do after the inestimable opportunities Western Chances has kindly opened up for me.” - Lien, student
"I would like to give a huge thank you to Western Chances for the opportunity over the 6 years I have held the scholarship. I have completed my enrolled nursing in 2010 and went on to graduate from university as a registered nurse currently starting my graduate year through Western Health. Once again thank you, I don't believe this would have been the outcome if I wasn't supported by you.” - Leigh Bell, registered nurse
“It was the end of lunch, and I remember walking to my locker to get ready for English Class. I was in year 10 at the time, and I remember that summer came a bit early- the weather was heating up fast. I ran into Sandy on my way to class, and in a screeching voice, she bellowed, “YOU GOT THE SCHOLARSHIP!’ I was in disbelief, and stood there in shock. I made sure to ask her again, just in case she needed some stronger contacts and was going blind. But in true Sandy fashion, she nodded three times again before saying, ‘It’s true, the office lady gave me a whole …" I gave her an enormous hug before dashing off to the office to see for myself.
Scholarships were those magical concepts, attainable by only the elite and brightest kids in the community. To me, receiving a scholarship myself seemed fantastical. Yet here we are, a few years later, I find myself writing a ‘thank you’ letter to you. I remember vividly the reactions on my parents’ faces as I told them the news after school. The joy in their eyes as their faces lit up still inspires me today.
Gone are the days when every school year, my mother would wince when she opened her wallet to buy textbooks, or when my dad would look at us with dismissive looks when he paid for my tutoring. Not having to see those grave expressions again lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. Additionally, it was probably one of the proudest moments of my life to attend the Western Chances Award Ceremony.
The scholarships validate for me my strengths and characteristics. It essentially told me that I was ‘doing something right’, and that I was recognised for my hard work and ambitions. As extremely cliché as this sounds, you’ve changed my life in more ways than one. Or more specifically, all the donors and staff at Western Chances have changed my life.
There is no amount of thank-yous’ in the entire world to encapsulate my gratitude for what you have done for me. But alas, I will say it anyways. Thank you and I hope to not disappoint you this year.
From, an extremely grateful boy living in the western suburbs.” - Song-Tinh, student
“Western Chances does not give out ‘chances’ but, ‘futures.’” - Anonymous, student
“With the money I received I was able for the first time to buy every textbook, exercise book and stationery fees before the school year began instead of scrambling to find textbooks as the year progressed.” - Anonymous, student
“Thank you so much for your kind words and for giving me the opportunity to display my photographs at the Western Chances Awards Ceremony. It was a great night and I look forward to hearing more about the alumni program.” - Anonymous student
“I would love to say a big thank you to everyone there and thank you for making this happen for a lot of young students, because this has given them, and me, an opportunity to have a good education. So once again, thank you very much.” - Anonymous, student
“When I’m older I really want to be an oncologist, this has become a goal of mine ever since my dad was diagnosed when I was young. We would go to day chemo, hospital check-ups , and oncologist appointments. Then as my dad got better and returned to work I sadly watched my grandma die of ovarian cancer. I would ask a lot ‘who cures cancer’ and say ‘I will do that when I’m older’. It really hurts to watch the people you love get sick from the medicine that is meant to make them better. I would really like to help find a cure to stop the suffering of patients and their families. Sadly this year my grandfather passed away from a 2nd brain tumour. I remember clearly when I saw him for the last time, he couldn't walk or talk, I fed him and pushed him around in his bed and the last time I ever said goodbye to him tears rolled down my cheek. The day I stood up and spoke at his funeral and watched my family grieve and yet at the same time try to celebrate my 13th birthday. It is these experiences that have driven my passion to help find a cure for cancer and I have been working so hard on my schooling to succeed and make my dream come true and make my family proud.” - Anonymous, student
“Thank you so much for providing this amazing opportunity to attend the Engage Education lecture. I got so much out of it yesterday. The notes & tips were very helpful. The presenters were just as fantastic! I would not have discovered these lecture if it was not for Western Chances. A big thank you again!” - Jenny, student
"There is no doubt that my Western Chances scholarship makes a huge difference to my studies. I honestly believe I would not be in the position I am today with my studies if it wasn't for the support I continually receive from Western Chances.” - Maryanne, student
“I am a previous recipient of your scholarship. I came from an abusive home with financial hardship and having an organisation believe in my future made a real difference in where I am today. Thank you.” - Anonymous, alumni
“Thanks for the support – it was probably one of the biggest things that happened to me – those three years of support from Western Chances were very important for me to get to where I am now.” - Anonymous, alumni
"I just want to say thank you – I wouldn’t have got through year 11 and 12 without Western Chances’ help ... There are heaps of kids out there who need Western Chances and I hope it can continue to help them." - Anonymous, alumni
“I'd like to thank Western Chances for their support in my secondary education from year 7 to year 12 and for my first year in university. This support has greatly helped my family in many ways over the years and helped me in achieving my goal of being the first to attend university and doing a course I enjoy. I am grateful for being a recipient of your scholarship and just would again like to say thank you for your support over the past seven years”. - Anonymous, alumni
“Thank you. I have just graduated tonight! All those years of high school finally came to an end. Can't wait for university. Thanks so much to Western Chances for helping me all these years; I have been with you guys since Year 8, really means a lot.” - Anonymous, alumni
"I am a Doxa Cadet and work one day a week at a major law firm. I work at two other jobs, I volunteer regularly with an anti-bullying organisation and I mentor a Year 11 student. I am an eight time recipient of Western Chances scholarships. Every year for eight years Western Chances has told me what a good job I am doing and helped me pay for my education." - Anonymous, student
“I had no idea just how much work is involved in raising money to fund the scholarships. When I received my scholarships, if I had known how much work was involved and how difficult it was to raise the money to fund my scholarship, I would have appreciated my scholarship more. And now that I do know, it makes me more keen to support Western Chances and to encourage others to support Western Chances." - Anonymous, student
”I find it really hard to express how grateful I am (to Western Chances). It's hard for me to describe, but I get a very funny feeling in my heart whenever I write these emails to you. It's a very strange mix of joy, gratitude and also a bit of sorrow; I don't know why, but I can't help but have this sort of half grin while I write this. Thank you so much for all your help, I really can't express how much I appreciate it.” - Anonymous, student
”When I received notification that my teacher was applying for a Western Chances scholarship on my behalf, I don’t think anyone would know how I felt. It was like there were thousands of fireworks in my stomach. That feeling came from only having a chance; I don’t think I could even imagine how it would feel to have this amazing opportunity which only comes once in a lifetime.” - Anonymous, student
"I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the scholarships. I honestly wouldn't have been able to complete year 12 like the way I did. All the free lectures that I was able to attend really
helped me with my studies and do well overall. Even though I'm unable to thank you face to face, I just want to let you know that I'm so grateful and thankful for Western Chances. I finished all my exams and cannot wait for what my future holds!" - Anonymous, student
“I received Western Chances support at high-school until 2009 and then for two years at Victoria University. I am now a very happy and independent student at Monash University, studying Psychology. Your support and faith made a huge difference to my life and I cannot thank you enough! I am very proud to say that I was awarded the Long Tan leadership award!!! Really happy about this one. I really credit this award to my teacher, as well as Western Chances for this award. In particular, I really want to thank you Anne! You and Western Chances have given many students, including myself, so many opportunities to grow and live as a capable students, and you've supported me both academically and with my leadership abilities. I really want you to know how grateful I really am.” - Anonymous, student
"I received my certificate at the (Western Chances) Ceremony last Tuesday. This is the first time I have ever been presented an award like this. I also could not believe that so many people were so excited for me. I will never forget this." - Anonymous, student
"I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your (Western Chances) wonderful support, love and care for me over these many years. I can't even comprehend the fact that I actually made it to university and have achieved so much in my three years. It is even more amazing because I say that Western Chances has played such a big role in my achievement and I am so proud to be an Ambassador!!!" - Anonymous, student
‘Hello, I'm a recipient of two consecutive scholarships already. I am writing to thank you really much on helping financially to achieve my goals. My goals haven't changed and I would like to keep regular contact for university help next year. Again thank you to everyone at Western Chances who gives the chance for students to achieve their dreams. I'm really grateful for it.’ - Billy, Year 12 - Bayside Secondary College
‘There is no way that I could have been able to continue this dream without Western Chances financial assistance.’ - Leona, Year 12 - Keilor Downs College
‘The scholarship helped my mum! Western Chances do a very good job – they help kids to get a job and an education.’ - Matthew, Year 10 - Sunshine College
‘My name is Abid, I was a Western Chances scholar for a number of years from 2007-2011. I just want to show my gratitude for the support the organisation provided me for all those years. Although this thank you is well overdue, I still want to share my success with you. I have finally reached the goal that you helped me achieve which was to get into a medical degree. I am now studying for a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, an accomplishment that I have partly to thank Western Chances for. I will one day be a doctor, thank you! I am very keen in helping out with Western Chances, putting back what I've been given. Of course, I intend to donate back to the organisation in the future once I am in a position to. But if there is anything I can do at the moment to help the organisation, I would be more than happy to. Thank you so much for your support." - Abid - University of Melbourne
"In the year 2004/2005, I was awarded the Western Chances Scholarship. Due to my language barrier I was unable to express my emotions. I have succeeded ever since, and received a scholarship from the University of Melbourne. I strongly believe that the opportunity Western Chances gave me lead me to being offered a position in the Bachelor of Oral Health course, as I struggled to even purchase a calculator in my early days. Five years down the track, I have completed my course and am also due to receive an award for my academic performance and be listed on the Dean’s Honours List. I am currently employed and I am grateful for the chance Western Chances gave me, this is a wonderful organisation in particular for public students in the west who often struggle to get an opportunity to succeed academically. As a refugee my chances of making my dreams come true were limited, so once again thank you so much Western Chances." would be more than happy to. Thank you so much for your support." - Jamilla - Bayside College
"I just received an email for work, to vote for an organisation I am passionate about to receive a grant through Westpac. I came across Western Chances and it got me thinking about the scholarship I received through Western Chances in High School. Just want to express my appreciation for everything the organisation does and of course my vote went towards Western Chances!" - Western Chances Alumni member
"It is very gratifying for us to hear these success stories that reinforce our view that supporting scholarships for disadvantaged kids is well worth while – hence our commitment to keep on supporting the Western Chances scholarship programme."
- Bob Smith - Allandale Foundation
"The Lee family are very thankful and fortunate that we are in a position to be able to assist such a wonderful organisation like Western Chances.We appreciate the difficulties and challenges facing charitable organisations. We also understand and know that there is huge effort required by you Rhyll, to be able to lead and bring the organisation to where it is now and be able to assist and transform young people."
- Clement Lee - Riverlee property
After the 2016 Scholarship Award Ceremony: "Thank you for a great event tonight - very inspiring. The Lord Mayor gave a very powerful speech and we all thought he would be a hard act to follow but Melissa's speech was beyond words. I have worked with her for 6 years now and that is the first time I really understood her story. I was incredibly proud of her tonight. Thank you to Western Chances for giving her the opportunity you have. It is exciting to think how far Melissa can go from here."
- Anton Hermann - Minter Ellison Lawyers
"Wow, talk about heart-warming, although I'm in tears at my computer! Thank you as always for sending these thank you notes through - it really puts everything else in perspective."
- Caroline Doherty - Manager, Marketing & Events, Melbourne Airport
"Well done on the fundraising. A great result, and in a period where a number of people have talked about how difficult fundraising has become. But, as they say, a good cause, that gets demonstrated results, and a good organisation run by good people helps!"
- Mark Madden - Annual donor and past Western Chances fundraising workshop facilitator
"Thanks for your email, and especially for the copy of Maggie’s speech – that’s a powerful statement of realities and opportunities. Good reminder that support and opportunities aren’t so much gifts as rights."
- Rob Sheehan - Annual donor and Sharp Words Consultancy, Editing & Writing and
"As donors, we support those who we feel the passion from - and you, Anne, Terry and all the WC team share your love and passion for what you do so genuinely and warmly that it is a pleasure to be part of your world. I will pass on these lovely quotes and of course the ongoing great work and reach of WC. It is so rewarding to see how far you are reaching and the huge impact it is having on many individuals, their families and their communities."
- Emma Harrison - Gourlay
"Western Chances continues to kick goals and is very much part on the landscape in Melbourne's West, as evidenced by the wonderful attendance of sponsors and supporters. Well done to you and all your team for your continued work in supporting young people."
- Gabrielle Keating - Western Chances volunteer scholarship assessor
"What a fantastic and incredibly valuable program you run. It was so delightful on the night to see the faces of the young students light up when they arrived and saw all the bright shiny lights! Teresa’s email below just shows what a special night it was for them and how significant these experiences and acknowledgements are in helping build their sense of ability and ambition as well as belief in their own worth."
- Kate Buchanan - Fed Square
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank Western Chances for renewing my daughter’s scholarship for 2016. I wanted you to know how much it means to us both as a family and to Elly as an individual. As a single parent it means I can ensure my child gets the most out of her education, and for Elly I know it spurs her to do her very best giving 100% to her schooling. She feels a sense of pride and accomplishment in her efforts which is something money cannot buy."
- Parent of scholarship recipient
“It’s moments like the smile on Cheyne’s face when he got the scholarship that you don’t see. Thanks again Western Chances for giving Cheyne the opportunity to follow his dream.”
- Parent of scholarship recipient
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Western Chances for renewing my daughter’s scholarship for 2016. I wanted you to know how much it means to us both as a family and to Elly as an individual. As a single parent it means I can ensure my child gets the most out of her education, and for Elly I know it spurs her to do her very best giving 100% to her schooling. She feels a sense of pride and accomplishment in her effort which is something money cannot buy.”
- Parent of scholarship recipient