We mentor disadvantaged young adults through the Clemente Australia program, helping them to get a university education by tutoring and supporting them. We also assist the program financially.
“This is my first year studying for a general Bachelor of Arts. I’ve just finished second semester, doing ceramics, painting and art history.
“I got into the program through Mission Australia. A friend told me they had courses which could lead you to uni. I studied four units there, literature, Australian history, indigenous Australia and philosophy. Then after that I applied to go to uni.
“You have to be disadvantaged to qualify for the program. In my case it was financially, as well as coming from a broken sort of family.
“I think the value of this study is that it gives me a better sense of direction and a chance to look at various aspects of art that I might not have tried. I wouldn’t have thought of ceramics, but a few people said my work would be good as ceramics. We didn’t use a wheel, it was more like sculpture in clay, so that suited me a lot better.
“Painting is what I want to do in the future and I’m always multi-focused. My aim by going to uni was also to try out graphic design, so that I could graduate and get a job straight away. Because you never know if people are going to like your ceramics or your paintings, so you need another skill as a backup.
“Being in the Clemente program has helped me flesh out my ideas and bring them to fruition. That’s really boosted my confidence. You can have lots of ideas but you never know if they’re real or not until you actually give them a go. Two of my paintings have been selected for exhibitions here in Sydney, so I’m excited about that.
“I would definitely recommend the program to others. If you’ve come from a background where you haven’t been given opportunities or you don’t have a family that supports you in what you want to do, it’s a great program because it will do that for you.”
- Daniel Smith, Clemente student