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Capturing and changing creative minds through storytelling while living in a locked down world

New spaces for young people to foster imagination, creativity and confidence through storytelling are evolving in the community, thanks to 100 Story Building. In 2020 alone, more than 2,300 children were involved in a range of programs offered by the social enterprise: one-off creative literacy workshops, Early Harvest – an annual fiction publication written, edited and published by primary school students, and the Story Hubs pilot – a whole school and community initiative aimed at increasing student engagement through stories.

In 2019, a multi-year grant was awarded to 100 Story Building from State Trustees’ Private Charitable Trust (PCT) General Granting Program. Consisting of three PCTs – John Sylvester Feehan, William Austin Zeal and William Henry Hutchinson, together the trusts provide funding annually to a charitable organisation within Victoria.

As well as being a partnership program with schools and the community, 100 Story Building’s Story Hubs pilot is also a philanthropic partnership project. Story Hubs is possible thanks to a generous group of committed supporters, including Aesop Foundation, The Ian Potter Foundation, The Lionel & Yvonne Spencer Trust, Anthony Costa Foundation, The Ross Trust, the Stan Willis Trust through the Australian Communities Foundation, and of course State Trustees through its PCT General Granting Program.

100 Story Building program encourage students to engage in their own creativity

The pilot was designed to create ‘hubs’ in Victorian schools and educational institutions in disadvantaged areas with the desire to increase student agency, improve literacy outcomes and critical and creative thinking skills, and increasing educator capabilities to foster active learning communities that place children and young people at the centre of their own learning.

100 Story Building commenced the pilot with three schools: Copperfield College in Kings Park, Meadows Primary School in Broadmeadows and Sunshine Primary School. With success early on and positive reactions from teachers and students, the pilot expanded, bringing on Banksia Gardens Community Services as a hub partner in Broadmeadows, and most recently, the first regional Story Hub in Geelong, which includes St Leonards Primary School and Whittington Primary School.

Despite pandemic-related hiccups, 100 Story Building and its partner schools quickly adapted to the changing environment, and the pilot has continued through tailored online professional learning for educators. All pilot schools have remained committed to the pilot despite the challenges faced by teachers, schools and students during remote learning.

The pilot brings a new approach to creativity in learning to schools and community organisations. Pilot outcomes are being measured through an external evaluation by experts in the field Clear Horizon, the results of which will be published in 2022 and will inform the future direction of Story Hubs.

100 Story Building program encourage students to engage in their own creativityThis year in July, the third and final payment of the 3-year grant was made to 100 Story Building. Building on the success of the previous two years, 100 Story Building plans to continue the pilot, incorporating further professional learning sessions for educators and helping teachers bring new approaches to creative teaching and learning into the classroom, inspiring children and young people to imagine new stories, worlds and possibilities.

Through times of hardship and uncertainty, it is amazing to hear uplifting stories from remote learning pupils through the established hubs. Thus, supporting the longevity and sustainability of the pilot.

It’s hard to image three bequests made more than 80 years ago would be playing a vital role in today’s virtual world, but this is achievable through generous bequestors and perpetual giving.

To date more than $50,000 has been distributed to worthy charities from the PCT General Granting Program.

To learn more about perpetual giving and charitable gifts, please contact the Charitable team at charitable@statetrustees.com.au or call (03) 9667 6740.

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