Techno grants help youth KickArse

Two Sydney-based charities have beaten more than 300 local and international entrants to win technology grants aimed at boosting youth computer literacy and life skills.

The Ted Noffs and Inspire Foundations were the Australian recipients of Samsung's youth-focused DigitaAll Hope grants program. They edged out 35 competing Australian submissions and 300 from seven other South East Asian-region countries. The proposals detailed innovative tech-based programs seeking to improve computer literacy and life skills amongst disadvantaged youth.

The Randwick, Sydney-based Ted Noffs Foundation will use the grant to expand the IT side of its Program for Adolescent Life Management (PALM) -- a three month live-in program for 14-18 year olds with serious alcohol or other drug related difficulties.

Jack Heath, founder and executive director of the Rozelle, Sydney-based Inspire Foundation said the grant would support a multimedia training and production project called KickArse. The focus will be on improving computer literacy and providing young people in under-served communities access to technology to make short films.

Wesley Noffs, CEO of the Ted Noffs Foundation, said he believed that education through technology benefited young Australians and bridged the digital-divide by "empowering and re-connecting them with society."

The precise figures of the local monetary grants weren't released. However, Samsung claims it will have contributed $US1.5m to organisations from Australia and South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).

Sydney Rooster Luke Ricketson with youth from the Ted Noffs PALM program

Samsung Australia's managing director, Je Seung Park, said: "Charitable and non-profit organisations across Australia use technology in extremely innovative and cost-effective ways to provide real and practical benefits to young people. The programs being run by the Inspire Foundation and the Ted Noffs Foundation are excellent examples of this."

The announcement of the winners was attended by executives from the foundations, representatives from Samsung, plus Luke Ricketson from the Sydney Roosters football team (sponsored by Samsung) and Anne-Marie Lansdown, General Manager -- Access branch, Australian Department of Communications, IT and the Arts.

Australian applications were evaluated by an independent judging panel. At various stages this comprised of Anne-Marie Landsdown, Senator Marise Payne, Liberal Senator for New South Wales and Mark Sullivan, Departmental Secretary for the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services.

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