Global company Jeunesse Kids has donated more than $25,000 to family violence support charity Friends With Dignity to help children affected by domestic violence.

The announcement was made on stage at the Jeunesse Australia and New Zealand Regional Convention at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast on Sunday 10 March. The funds will go toward the Friends With Dignity Little Friends Scholarship Program. The program was first announced in March 2017 at the Jeunesse Australia/New Zealand annual conference in Sydney, with the first round of scholarships opening in June 2017. Friends With Dignity Director and Chief Operations Officer Zoe Scharenguivel said she was humbled by the donation. “We are so humbled and grateful for all of the support Jeunesse has provided since the launch of the Little Friends Scholarship Program in early 2017,” Scharenguivel said.

The program, which is an Australian-first, awards bi-annual monetary scholarships to children throughout Australia who have faced, or are facing, domestic or family violence. The scholarships help to cover a variety of areas from helping kids attend camp and after-school activities with their peers, to providing uniforms to attend school after the family’s home was burnt down.

General Manager of Jeunesse Australasia Rachel McVinish was introduced to national not-for-profit organisation Friends With Dignity when seeking a charity assisting children in need. “I knew as soon as I spoke with Julia and Zoe at Friends With Dignity, and learnt of the incredible work they do, that this was the charity Jeunesse Kids should be associated with, and from there, the idea of the scholarship program was developed,” said McVinish. “We envision a world where all children have the opportunity to grow and flourish and look forward to a happy, successful future.”

The first four rounds of the program have seen a total of 122 scholarships awarded Australia-wide. Friends With Dignity, which was recognised as the Australian Charity of the Year in 2018, responded to requests from the community wanting to contribute to their Little Friends Scholarship program by launching the Little Friends Scholarship Community Fund in round three, allowing the general public to also help children in need.

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