Jim’s a quiet achiever

Jim’s a quiet achiever

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Senior Community Citizen of the Year Jim Sharp with Dr Tony Buti and Community Citizen of the Year Robert Turner.

Jim Sharp may have retired, but the 2022 Senior Community Citizen of the Year is back at school with a mentorship program aimed at educating Armadale’s disadvantaged kids.
Having worked for Amnesty International as a board member and national vice-president, Jim’s passion for refugee advocacy carried through his transition into retirement and he now runs the Armadale branch of Achievers WA.
“The club is the end product of quite a few years. We started many years ago, more than 10 years ago,” Jim told the Examiner.
“My original background is as a lawyer, but in transitioning to retirement I volunteered with a men’s group, and we had a whole squad of volunteers and some of them were helping refugee families,” said Jim.
“The big issue was the lack of English – they couldn’t help their own kids with their schoolwork, so we had a bunch of volunteers who were doing that,” he said.
“Unfortunately there were some funding cuts and they did away with their volunteer program. But we had this great bloke called Danny McEvoy who was one of our volunteers, and he and another volunteer decided to keep going, which they did, it was mainly up in the northern suburbs,” said Jim.
Jim heard about Danny’s and wanted in. It wasn’t long before Jim was mentoring a young man from a Sudanese family.
“After I had been doing this for a few Saturdays it turned out I was driving up to Girrawheen every Saturday morning and his father was driving him up from Byford,” said Jim.
“After a while I ended up having a chat with Tony Buti and we agreed that it would be a good idea to set up a chapter of the club down here in Armadale,” he said.
“So that’s where it started, Tony put me in touch with some of the primary schools – Westfield Park Primary being one of them – they have a really supportive headmaster and deputy principal – and so we basically started up our chapter of the club here,” said Jim.
Westfield Park Primary Deputy Principal Adam Beilken, who described Jim’s mentoring work as “amazing,” said the kids working with Achievers Club WA have shown significant improvements in their schooling.
“What we have seen at school with these children is that they become more engaged in the curriculum because they have had repeated exposure with their mentors to the curriculum content,” said Mr Beilken.
“The impact of Jim and the Achievers Club on the students at our school has been phenomenal and we look forward to continuing our association with him into the future,” he said.
Dr Tony Buti MLA, who has known Jim for over 20 years and is a patron of Achievers Club WA, said he has always admired his commitment to community service.
“Jim Sharp’s initiative and involvement in setting up the Achievers Club at Westfield Primary School for the local community is most welcomed and we should applaud him and the other volunteers,” said Dr Buti.
But Jim is not one to rest on his laurels, and has plans to expand the program in 2022.
“Our plan is to grow, we want to add another six kids to the group, so our big aim this year is to get more mentors from Armadale and the surrounding area,” he said.