Concern Australia is incredibly amazed by the ongoing support of Rotary Club Central Melbourne, who have been supporting our mission – creating opportunities for at-risk and disadvantaged to enjoy full and meaningful lives – for more than 20 years. Their values of ‘Service Above Self’ align with our vision of an Australia where vulnerable young people and children have hope for a successful and positive life.

The beginning of our partnership dates back to the late 90’s with a donation of 50 survival kits for people experiencing homelessness, founding the relationship with STEPS Outreach Service on a mutual dedication of battling youth homelessness.

Over the years, our partnership has grown stronger, and has successfully changed the lives of many young people experiencing homelessness. With the ongoing support of Rotary Central Melbourne, STEPS has been able to provide support for young people experiencing homelessness by supplying groceries vouchers, Christmas gifts, survival kits and more.

Bernie Gerlinger ‘Hope for the Future’ Scholarship

In 2018 Rotary Club Central Melbourne began a pilot program supporting three children… These efforts were then increased in 2019-2021 with scholarships and mentoring provided to eight disadvantaged school-aged children or young people.

In 2022, Rotary Central Melbourne provided scholarships to assist five disadvantaged young people to overcome barriers to educational success and to help them achieve positive life outcomes. The scholarships provided financial support, complemented by mentoring and support from a STEPS youth worker.

Rotary Central Melbourne, in consultation with Concern Australia, changed the name of the program to ‘Bernie Gerlinger Hope for the Future Scholarships’ to honour Bernie’s long-term support (pictured) of the Steps Outreach Service. Rotarians and friends donated funds in Bernie’s memory to support this scholarship program.

Welcoming a New President

Rotary Club Central Melbourne, for their annual presidential baton-change, welcomed Rohan Williams as their newly elected President. As part of Rohan’s appointment as President, he saw great importance in witnessing the impact of the partnership between Rotary Central Melbourne and STEPS.

Accompanying Anne Mitchell, STEPS Outreach Service Manager on the steps of Flinders St, Mr Williams was able to witness first-hand the work that our team do to provide support for young people experiencing homelessness. For Rohan, the scholarship program represents that we are one step closer in accomplishing the dream of “no one sleeping rough on the streets”.

“The Scholarship program is an opportunity for Rotary Central Melbourne to support the important work that Steps Outreach Service is doing: looking to keep children and young people engaged, and keeping them in school for as long as possible… Education is the ladder for opportunities.”

– Rohan Williams, President of Rotary Central Melbourne

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rotary Central Melbourne for all of the work they do in supporting disadvantaged young people through partnering with STEPS Outreach Service to help us make a difference in young lives.

You can read more about Rohan William’s presidential appointment on the Rotary Club Central Melbourne website here!


If you would like to get involved and make a tax-deductible contribution to support the work of STEPS Outreach Service, click on the ‘Donate Now’ button below!


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