Students achieving success through the Clemente Fitzroy program

Clemente Fitzroy students were recognised for their hard work at an end of semester celebration last week, which was held at the ACU Melbourne Campus.

The students were celebrating the completion of another unit, Introduction to Sociology, taking them one step closer to completing their Certificate in Liberal Arts.  The students were joined by ACU staff, Clemente Fitzroy program partners CatholicCare, and various Learning Partners.

The Clemente Fitzroy program provides an opportunity for people experiencing disadvantage and social exclusion to study a university course in liberal arts subjects.  Students completing four units of study receive a recognised university non-award certificate, providing opportunities to pursue further tertiary education, realising new possibilities and life choices.

Many of the students are dealing with complex issues such as mental illness, disability, addiction, unemployment, homelessness, or family breakdown.  Most have had their education interrupted – the program strives to help them reach their potential by gently reintroducing them to the discipline of study, methods of reading, writing and thinking.

By focusing on the Humanities, the Clemente Fitzroy program supports students to re-engage with their community while enabling them to see themselves as agents of change. Student benefits include increased self-esteem, improved social connections and more structured lives.

Clemente Fitzroy is run by ACU out of five campuses, including Melbourne, Strathfield, Brisbane, Canberra and Ballarat.  It was first introduced to Australia by ACU 16 years ago; hundreds of people have participated in the program with many graduates going on to undertake further study.

“Clemente is not a training program designed for a specific end; it is a program that seeks to offer its students an opportunity to critically engage in critical thinking and self-exploration through the liberal arts and, by doing so, recognise the profound strengths, intelligence, wisdom, and awareness that resides within them," Clemente Fitzroy Program Advisor Samuel Zifchak said.

“Every Clemente student has a unique and challenging set of circumstances that has brought them to the program. What draws them together as a community, however, are not so much these challenges, but the strengths that they constantly display and share: engagement, empathy, resilience, and curiosity.”

Former Clemente Fitzroy student Daryl Blackmore, who is now studying media at ACU Melbourne Campus said, ‘It’s truly amazing to see your fellows expand their minds, to grow in ways that just a little while ago were unimaginable.

“Dare to dream with Clemente on your side, anything truly is possible. As a result of completing the Clemente program, a whole new world has opened up for me.”

The Clemente Fitzroy program is delivered at ACU in partnership with CatholicCare Melbourne and the generous support of City of Yarra and St Vincent de Paul – Parkville Conference.

Clemente students with their certificates.

Clemente students enjoy the end of semester celebration.

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