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Ballarat Imagination Library – Launched

Oh the places you’ll Go!!

The official launch of the Ballarat Imagination Library was a highlight of Thursday night’s Spirit of Ballarat Award night.

Geoff Sharp, CEO of United Way Ballarat chose to read a ‘book’ to launch the program which aims to put quality, age appropriate books in the homes of Ballarat children aged 0 to 5, every month for free.

Rather than bombard the audience of United Way Ballarat supporters with statistics around poor literacy in our region and the far reaching effects these have on many of the social problems we see, Geoff read a poem.  Inspired by this presentation, sponsorship for 36 children was pledged on the night, with both Haymes Paints and Telstra, pledging to match child for child all sponsorships from their employees .   Click here To find out more.

And the poem:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

with Apologies to Dr Seuss

Tonight is your night.
You’ve been to Great Places!
You’ve made our town bright!

But here we are standing
with challenges galore.
Our town has a future
but needs us some more.
The economy is changing.  And jobs are as well.
And YOU will decide how that future is spelled.

Manufacturing is tanking.
we are building to a highly leveraged service based knowledge economy 🙂
Having brains in your head.
And feet in your shoes
is no longer enough
to get the job that you choose.

The truth of it holds for our little town,
Reading is essential but the stats leave a frown.
A full 40%, yes that is 4 in ten
of young people fail
to get much beyond year ten.
Yes our young people are failing
at high school and at training.

Our prisons are full of people that can’t read.
You’d think we’d have learned, oh dear no indeed.
You see it is simple and makes perfect sense,
If you read then you learn and if you learn you may succeed.

So here we are sitting on a cold August night
and you are thinking what will we do? And maybe we just might
Come together again as a city just as we did 30 years back
And kick off an idea that puts us back on track
to a much brighter future
with books as the feature.

One Book,
One Month,
One Child
That is the idea and that’s where it starts
but it needs someone else some caring hearts,
people to sponsor and make sure there are books.
7500 books to be exact – woa! don’t be sooks.

For 30 years ago a group of people decided
that this city was their problem and not to be derided.
They decided to work and seek solutions not leave it to others
or just one on their lonesome no they were sisters and brothers.
If we work together we can build the sort of city we see
but it takes guts and commitment a vision that exceeds
just one election cycle or council’s four years
this is about a generation a commitment over years.

So take a brochure heck! take four or sixteen
sign yourself up, then hit up your neighbors and the ones in between.
Thousands are needed because nothing worthwhile ever came cheaply.
We need all to combine you see it fits oh so neatly.

Together we can make Ballarat Reading
then into the future we will be speeding.
Our vision is bold, that we accept
but nothing ever changed without a first step.

So be sure when you step
step with care and great tact.
And remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…Go get on your way!






United Way Ballarat is working to advance the common good of our community by focusing on Education, Income and Health.  These are the building blocks for a good life—a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.  United Way Ballarat asks all the citizens of Ballarat and surrounding areas to do three things: GIVE – money and goods; ADVOCATE – on behalf of those who cannot; and VOLUNTEER – to invest time in our community More about United Way Ballarat


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