Clemente Changing Lives

Running for over ten years the Ballarat Clemente program offers those who are marginalised or disadvantaged the opportunity to participate in Higher Education and gain a qualification for life.

Recently one of the Clemente students achieved her goal, graduating with a Certificate in Liberal Studies, ready to take the next step in her learning journey.

Clemente Key Support Worker Lesley tells this clients story.


“Having the honour to attend Australian Catholic University (ACU) graduation ceremony to celebrate the graduation of Mary, one of the Ballarat Clemente students, was an inspiring occasion. Mary came to Clemente from a background of multiple social barriers and a learning disability. She had a history of substance abuse, involvement with the criminal justice system, child protection and was at risk of homelessness.

Mary’s initial involvement in Clemente was instigated and encouraged by her father and step-mother who had both completed the Clemente program themselves. Both went on to continue their studies.  Her father and step-mother are staunch advocates for Clemente and continue to be involved in the program, speaking to audiences about the positive changes Clemente has on a person’s life.

The progress of Mary since her involvement with Clemente is a testament to her courage and determination to complete her studies. She is proud of achieving her Certificate in Liberal Studies and will continue her studies at Diploma level. Mary credits the support given by staff and Learning Partners to her success, emphasising the value of the supportive network she says is her “other family.”

We wish Mary all the best for her future and will keep in touch with her through the social lunches provided during semester break. The Clemente program continues to support and encourage our students past and present, keeping their support network in place.

Key Support Worker Lesley