Scholarships, mentoring & networking to help students reach Pinnacle
The Pinnacle Foundation will hold its first ever Scholar Induction Program next month for over 20 young LGBTIQ people as it prepares to help more students who have suffered hardship or discrimination with mentoring and financial assistance.
Established in 2009, Pinnacle provides scholarships and specialized mentoring to LGBTIQ youth who are marginalised or disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation or sex and gender identity.
This year, Pinnacle will award scholarships to 23 young LGBTIQ students enrolled in high school, TAFE and university in courses including dentistry, arts, social science and law, to music, media, ecology, and psychology.
In a first, Pinnacle will bring all 23 scholars and mentors from across Australia together in Sydney for a Scholar Induction Program to be held on Saturday, February 23. The event will provide an opportunity for students to learn professional skills, engage in workshops and network with other scholars and mentors.
Pinnacle’s Steven Deveraux-Stanford told SX the foundation hoped to provide even more scholarships next year after receiving 45 applications in total this year.
“This year’s response to The Pinnacle Foundations scholarships has been overwhelming, resulting in us awarding 23 scholarships for 2013 up from 14 last year. This only shows the great need for this kind of support within the LGBTIQ community,” he said.
“The induction program to be held in Sydney next month is the first time we have been able to bring all the scholars together as a group. Given the geographical spread of the scholars, this will give them the opportunity to meet, network and develop their own support network with each other.”
Despite being established under five years ago, Pinnacle – with help from blue-chip companies like Accenture and Freehills law firm – has already managed to provide textbooks, computers and other resources as well as mentoring for almost 50 young people. Last year, one of Pinnacle’s co-founders, Susan Brooks, was awarded the prestigious Community Hero award at the annual ACON Honour Awards for recognition of the foundation’s work.
In the coming months, Pinnacle is also aiming to develop Regional Committees in each state and territory so that it may provide better personal support to scholars no matter where they are in the country.
“The Pinnacle Foundation is not only about providing financial means for education, each scholar is also matched with a mentor, of which has excelled in the scholars chosen vocation. This mentor is able to guide the scholar through their studies as well as provide practical hands on advice,” Deveraux-Stanford told SX.
“We still however require more mentors to match with our scholars, in particular, mentors in South Australia with a background in Writing/Literature, Music Educators or Mental Health, mentors in Victoria with a background in Theatre Production or Media Industry and mentors in New South Wales with a background in Dentistry or Healthcare.”
Photo: Patrons Michael Kirby and Kerryn Phelps with NSW-based Pinnacle Foundation 2012 scholars Nathan Li, Veronica Mason, Lucy Bonanno, Audrey Cremer and Steven Walker (courtesy Susan Brooks)