The Courier

Family affair: The united front of women with passion for supporting kids in need

Making a difference: Natasha Bull and her grandmother Evelyn Berg.

This is sponsored content for VIEW Clubs of Australia.

Natasha Bull was only two years old when she began accompanying her grandmother to the monthly meetings of Runaway Bay VIEW Club on the Queensland Gold Coast.

Today, at 19, she has earned a place in the history of VIEW Clubs of Australia - as being one of its youngest members.

Natasha is now treasurer of her local branch of VIEW, the national organisation that has been bringing women of all generations together for a common purpose - supporting families and children in need through The Smith Family - for 60 years.

A Gold Coast child care student, Natasha is one of more than 15,000 VIEW members who make up the 300-strong national network of much-loved clubs, that for many members have become family affairs.

Natasha is the fourth generation of her family to be a part of VIEW, along with her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.

"I have so many great memories of going along to VIEW meetings and events with Grandma. It has had such an impact on my life and I always wanted to be a part of it, to do my bit with the amazing work they do," she said.

That "amazing work" is supporting The Smith Family. VIEW is the largest community sponsor of The Smith Family's Learning for Life program which provides long-term educational support for Australian children and young people in need. In 60 years, VIEW has raised more than $40 million for the charity's learning and support programs and members today collectively sponsor more than 1,400 students on the program. They also dedicate more than 70,000 volunteer hours annually to The Smith Family.

Each club has the opportunity to connect with their sponsored student/s via correspondence, and now also online.

This year is a significant one for VIEW as its members mark the 60th anniversary of its launch in Sydney in 1960 by the General Secretary of The Smith Family, as a service to women of the time, and to support the work of the charity. The name stands for Voice, Interests and Education of Women.

Natasha's grandmother Evelyn Berg joined VIEW in 1993, first in Tumut, New South Wales, and then at the Gold Coast when she and her husband moved there more than 20 years ago. Evelyn served as president of Runaway Bay VIEW Club and has now taken on a leadership role as a member of VIEW National Council, helping to shape the future of the organisation she loves.

Evelyn was drawn to VIEW for two reasons - to build friendships and to give back to others less fortunate.

"I wanted to meet people and I wanted to devote some of my time to something worthwhile. I wanted to help other Australian families," Evelyn said. "That's what VIEW is about, helping families and children in need.

"I joined VIEW on the Gold Coast to again make new friends, and help raise funds. I love to raise money, and The Smith Family is a good charity to support!

"We have a lot of fun, we get together for dinners and events, and to hear interesting speakers, but it's all with a purpose - to support the education of disadvantaged young Australians."

Runaway Bay VIEW Club sponsors 15 students on The Smith Family's Learning for Life program.

"It is incredible to receive their correspondence, to hear how they are getting along, that their Maths has improved or how much better they are doing in English. It is a joy," said Evelyn.

A proud achievement for Marna Sandford, a VIEW member since 2002, is the many students her Oakleigh VIEW Club currently supports.

Generations of VIEW: Kate Eddelbuttel (left), Jane Eddelbuttel, Lauren Eddelbuttel, and Marna Sandford.

Marna's commitment to VIEW also runs in the family - her daughter Jane Eddelbuttel and granddaughters, Lauren, 34, and Kate, 32, are fellow VIEW members, with all four being on the committee at one stage.

For many years, Marna took on the role of communicating with the club's Learning for Life students.

"I've made terrific friends and enjoyed being able to support the students. Education is such an important thing," said Marna.

"I just loved VIEW as soon as I joined. You meet these great like-minded women who all want to raise money to support the education of disadvantaged children.

"It makes you very aware that there are kids out there who are not as privileged as many others."

She said she's proud and happy that the next generations of her family are also supporting the VIEW organisation.

Jane Eddelbuttel and her daughters joined in 2012. "We were told to join, and we do what we're told," she joked. "Mum has always been a passionate advocate for the work of VIEW.

"I'm very glad we did. You really feel that you're doing something worthwhile. At the moment Oakleigh VIEW Club sponsors six students on The Smith Family's Learning for Life program.

"You can get caught up in your own lives and not realise the sort of poverty that exists meaning some kids can't have the education that others do."

In its 60th anniversary year, VIEW members today are paying tribute to their predecessors, the passionate women who ensured VIEW evolved to meet the contemporary needs of women, while always supporting The Smith Family. Sixty years on, VIEW continues to make a positive difference, and to act as a strong voice for women and families in the community.

"It is an amazing feeling being a member of an organisation with such a history and a legacy of women working together with The Smith Family for the common purpose of enabling better futures for young Australians and achieving a long-term positive impact," Jane said.

Daughters Kate and Lauren said they love being part of a "community of women" of all ages. "It's interesting to see how we can all contribute when we are at different times in our lives," Lauren said. "It makes me feel really proud knowing I'm playing a part."

If you would like to join a VIEW Club near you visit for more information.

This is sponsored content for VIEW Clubs of Australia.