Ronald McDonald House Charities is proudly recognising 25 years of the Ronald McDonald Learning Program (RMLP), a free initiative for families that prevents over 80 children from dropping out or repeating school each year.
Founded in 1998, the RMLP has helped over 18,000 children with serious illnesses or injuries catch up on missed education following treatment and recovery.
It launched with a pilot of only 10 students in NSW, and now due to demand, provides tailored support to children in every state and territory across Australia.
Today, the RMLP provides vital education support to more than 1,200 children every year, saving $3.1 million per annum in government expenditure due to improved education attainment.
CEO for Ronald McDonald House Charities Ms Barbara Ryan said the RMLP is one of the services the charity is most proud.
“Our Ronald McDonald Learning Program provides vital educational support to remediate the impact of missed schooling due to critical illness,” she said.
“From improving numeracy and literacy skills, to identifying learning strengths and weaknesses, the RMLP supports the journey back to school for children recovering from serious illness or injury, while also providing a much-needed confidence boost.”
It has helped children like 13-year-old Georgia Broome from Croydon Hills in Melbourne’s east, who currently goes to school in Ringwood.
A Learning Program tutor was recommended to her via the hospital she was receiving treatment at, and now comes to the school for an hour each Tuesday morning to assist her with maths.
She’s already completed 28 sessions with the tutor this year, which has been a huge help as she transitioned to high school. Georgia was first diagnosed with cancer at two-and-a-half, and then relapsed at four-and-a-half and again at seven-and-a-half. She has been in remission for the last five years. She was diagnosed with a new cancer last year however this was treated.
According to Ryan, the program is tailored to each individual student depending on the child’s needs, location and family situation, and is facilitated through 40 dedicated hours of face-to-face or online tuition for each student.
“Last year was one of RMLP’s biggest years yet with over 1,200 children supported. The program is going from strength to strength, and we can’t wait to see what we can achieve in the next 25 years,” she said.
In addition to the RMLP, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a range of services to support families when they need it most, including Family Rooms, Family Retreats, and Hospitality Carts.
At the cornerstone of the charity are the Ronald McDonald Houses, which provide a ‘home away from home’ for families of seriously ill and injured children being treated at nearby hospitals, giving them the chance to stay together and close to the care they need.
Every year, Ronald McDonald House Charities supports over 35,000 Aussie families with seriously ill or injured children.