Harrison Craig, The Voice winner, Speaks up for Children’s Literacy
United Way Australia is thrilled to announce that Harrison Craig has joined United Way as our Ambassador.
The singer and author, who won the second series of The Voice Australia, is helping raise awareness of the importance of early learning and literacy across Australian communities of disadvantage.
United Way’s early learning programs hold a special place for Harrison, who earlier this year released his first children’s book Harrison’s Song.
“I feel I was given an incredible opportunity to follow my dreams. But today in Australia, there are too many children stuck in a cycle of disadvantage, making it hard for them to believe in themselves or a better future. If I can help United Way get more books into the hands of children throughout Australian communities, then I’m doing my part to help kids overcome adversity and have the chance to follow their dreams too.”
Around 1 in 5 Australian children start school ‘developmentally vulnerable’, lacking the skills needed to thrive. In communities of disadvantage, that number is closer to 1 in 3. The majority of children starting behind struggle to learn and keep up with their peers, often facing vastly reduced opportunities in life as a result. United Way’s early learning initiatives include Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a program providing children in communities of disadvantage with free monthly books and shared reading resources to build the early literacy and learning skills.
The initiative has so far delivered more than 150,00 books to over 6000 children across 41 communities, but there is much work yet to be done, as United Way CEO Clayton Noble explains.
“We like to think of Australia as a land of opportunity, but what we know is that the postcode children are born can severely limit their opportunities in life. The good news is, by investing in early learning initiatives like the Imagination Library, we can give them the chance to thrive in school and reach their full potential. That’s one of the reasons we’re so pleased to have Harrison’s support in bringing the Imagination Library to even more Australian communities.”
Harrison kicks of his Ambassadorship at the upcoming United Way School Ball, a gala fundraising event held at Sydney Town Hall that aims to raise more than $300,000 to support its early learning programs.
“I’m truly honoured to be taking up the role of United Way Ambassador, knowing the difference their work makes in bringing literacy and opportunity to children across the country. And I will continue to add my voice to their call to improve early learning – every Australian child deserves to start school ready to thrive.”