QPASTT established the Homework Club in 2001 as a supportive, safe environment for high school students to come after school and receive tuition and assistance with their school work from volunteer tutors.
Ana Pocrnjic was on a student placement at QPASTT when she helped to create the Homework Club.
I had the experience of being a student at high school who understood the schoolwork but didn’t have the language to put it into English to get a good mark. It was challenging as a student – you felt a lot of shame.
I used to go to schools with the QPASTT Youth Team and we were often grabbed by students and teachers and asked to help explain assignments. We talked about how great it would be to have a space for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to get help to communicate their knowledge in the language of these subjects.
Homework Club was a safe space for kids who often didn’t have other friends to play with after school, or didn’t have somewhere to go after school for a hobby. Some people took their homework very seriously and for others Homework Club was a place to hang out if home was a bit stressful.”
Ana Pocrnjic, QPASTT staff member (2008-2020).
The Homework Club quickly grew in popularity and repute and in 2020/21, Homework Club delivered tutoring sessions to over 119 students.
Homework Club provides much more than assistance with schoolwork. Students reported that it increased their confidence and sense of belonging in a new culture.
Homework Club was a welcoming and safe space for young people. It offered support with school work but it also had a social element. Importantly, Homework Club built relationships of trust with young people that enabled QPASTT to offer them connections to counselling or other support for issues they may be struggling with beyond school work.”
Marcela Ramirez, Homework Club Coordinator (2002-2009)
Young people are not going to knock on the door and say ‘I need some counselling,’ but the
Homework Club addressed a very practical need and built high levels of trust between students and tutors and youth workers. Through those relationships, young people might talk about some issues and youth workers could support them, do a bit of advocacy, link them to counselling or resources. All that was dependent on the building up of trust.”
Ally Wakefield, QPASTT staff member (2000-2015)
As well as building trust directly with young people, the Homework Club enabled QPASTT to nurture relationships with families and the broader community, creating many touchpoints for us to support communities.
Usually the beacon that people are holding onto through their journey to safety is the future of
their children. But then they come to Australia and see their children struggling at school because of language barriers and they are unable to support them with school work. The Homework Club was a way to provide that practical language support around school work, but it also was a way to weave a connective web of support around the whole community.”
Paula Peterson, QPASTT Director (1995-2007)
I first got to know QPASTT and Homework Club as a student at Coorporoo Secondary College.
As a student, what was useful for me was the connection that Homework Club offered – being able to connect with others and make friends, to socialise and have fun, as well as to understand what services were available for you. Later, I worked at QPASTT as a community youth worker, helping coordinate Homework Club. Homework Club has developed over time. Its academic focus has become much stronger.
As a gathering place for young people, where they can talk about their needs, Homework Club has been the origin of many other QPASTT youth programs. When young people said they needed more activities, QPASTT developed a school holiday activities program. When they said they wanted the opportunity to develop their leadership, QPASTT developed the Youth Voice program. Homework Club is a really important environment that enables youth consultation.”
Elijah Buol OAM, former QPASTT staff member and Board Member (pictured right).