The Smith Family COS Leadership Program

Date: December 11th, 2023

All leaders at COS have a child sponsored on their behalf. As part of our commitment to supporting education in Australia, the Lyone Foundation has been a sponsor of The Smith Family's 'Learning for Life' program since March 2022, contributing more than $175,000 in funding. The Lyone Foundation extends its support to over 78 underprivileged students per year through a unique initiative with the COS leadership team, ensuring continuous donations and reflecting our ongoing commitment to making a difference.

The Smith Family, a long-standing Australian charity, has been working for over a century to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in Australia. One of the organisation's flagship initiatives is the 'Learning for Life' program, which supports over 58,000 students across 90 communities in Australia. The program provides long-term financial, personal, and educational support to disadvantaged students from preschool through to tertiary studies.

Through this vital sponsorship, disadvantaged children are given access to the support and resources they need to succeed academically. Each sponsored student in the 'Learning for Life' program receives financial assistance to cover school essentials such as books and uniforms, as well as tailored personal support and guidance from a program coordinator who understands the specific needs of each sponsored student. Practical support is also provided through access to additional learning and mentoring programs, such as the Student2student program, which pairs students who are struggling with reading with trained buddies who work with them to improve their skills.

The ongoing support provided by The Smith Family's 'Learning for Life' program and the sponsorship of the Lyone Foundation's leadership team empowers disadvantaged children to overcome educational inequality caused by poverty. By providing these children with the skills and confidence they need to keep up with their studies, attend school more regularly, and progress to further education, they can create a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Australia is home to over 1.2 million children and young people living in poverty, and for many of these families, the daily struggle to make ends meet can overshadow any hope for a brighter future. Financial hardship often means that children miss out on essential items such as school uniforms, textbooks, and shoes, and they may also lack the extra support and resources they need to thrive academically. However, research shows that combining financial assistance with personal and ongoing educational support can significantly improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children.

The Smith Family's 'Learning for Life' program and the Lyone Foundation's sponsorship program are essential initiatives in the fight against educational inequality in Australia. By combining financial assistance with personal and educational support, disadvantaged children are given the tools they need to succeed academically and break the cycle of poverty that has held them back for far too long.



Sponsoring Heathcliff through COS has been a truly meaningful experience for me. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to write to Heathcliff and get to know him better. It’s been a joy to learn more about his life and interests and to see the world through his eyes. It makes me proud to think that by working at COS, I’m helping to create a better environment and future for a child in need and my contributions are making a difference in his life.

Rebekah Adamson

Group Marketing Manager, COS


Through sponsoring a child with The Smith Family, I’ve not only been able to navigate the easy-to-use portal and exchange messages with my sponsored child, but I’ve also been given the opportunity to align my personal values of passion and family with a cause that ensures Australian children receive the best education possible. It’s made a positive impact on the community by providing one more child with a chance to succeed and lessening the strain on government systems. Most importantly, it’s given me a sense of pride and joy to know that I’m making a difference in someone’s life, and it’s sparked important conversations with loved ones about the need for more support for those in need.

Chris Gibson

National Sales Manager – Mid Market COS


“I can’t help but reflect on my experience sponsoring a child through COS’s initiative. It’s something I had always thought about doing, but never got around to until now. When I was introduced to my sponsored child, Isabella, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I sent her my profile, hoping for a response, but prepared for the possibility that I may not hear back from her. However, seven months later, I received her profile in the mail, and I was overjoyed.

Learning that Isabella loved art was a moment of connection for me, as my own daughter shares the same passion. It was a reminder that even though we may come from different backgrounds, we still have things in common that can bring us together.

I decided to donate to out-of-school learning programs, aiming to make a difference in Isabella's life. In December, I sent her a message and a gift voucher for her birthday and Christmas, hoping to make her feel special. Reflecting on this experience, I'm grateful for the chance to connect with Isabella and expand my perspective. Sponsoring a child has allowed me to appreciate the diversity and beauty of our world. I eagerly anticipate continuing my sponsorship and witnessing Isabella's growth and success.

Geralyne Yee

Financial Controller COS