shapeIan Ralph

Hear from a school principal

‘12 Buckets is a shining light for kids in schools’ – hear from a school principal.

Ian Ralph is the school Principal at Koondoola Primary School and has been for the past 4 years. Before arriving at Koondoola, Ian had seen many mentoring and coaching initiatives across his career. But immediately after seeing the work and impact of 12 Buckets, he knew it was something special.

Ian Ralph

Ian (in blue shirt) plunging & fundraising on behalf of 12 Buckets at Central Park Plunge 2020

“I realised quickly that 12 Buckets is such an important program for the kids in primary schools, particularly for our kids here at Koondoola. We’ve got kids that are really facing some early challenges and adversity in their lives,” he said.

Within the community at Koondoola Primary School, 12 Buckets is thought of as a little shining light, a place for kids to participate, join in and feel safe. Ian is a believer that much of the time, schools are often the only safe spot in children’s lives. When speaking about the impact of 12 Buckets at Koondoola, he said it’s provided an opportunity for kids to really connect with people they can trust, while finding opportunities to share and grow into young, successful people on their path to adulthood.

“We don’t expect our kids to be the best or smartest academically, but just to be the nice people that we want to see in our communities. They deserve every opportunity to succeed and grow as people, and 12 Buckets provides them with that positive encouragement,” said Ian.

At a speech delivered for 12 Buckets in 2019, Ian reflected on a moment in time where he was truly proud to be associated with the 12 Buckets program. He attended a Lego League challenge with a group of Koondoola Primary School students who were up against several other Perth schools. As a part of the challenge, the students had to present what they believed were the core values of their school.

“I think we were one of the most multicultural groups at the competition, our kids came from every walk of life! That sums up for me what Koondoola Primary School is all about,” said Ian.

Ian said that among the group of students was a child from the 12 Buckets program.

“Our 12 Buckets student, in particular, stood in front of all these strangers and gave their spiel about core values and we ended up winning the ‘core values’ trophy,” he said.

“As a principal, you go to these events and it almost brings a tear to your eye watching these kids having a crack at life, demographics should never define your destiny and that’s my mantra at Koondoola Primary School”.

But where does 12 Buckets really differ when it comes to making a difference in the lives of young people? Ian says it’s thanks to the program being focused on supporting kids before things start going pear-shaped in their lives, ensuring they are never in a position where they become disengaged.

“It’s a huge credit to the 12 Buckets team, particularly their visionary founder Travis, and their operating team, what you do for our kids at Koondoola is thoroughly appreciated,” he said.

“The kids and staff at Koondoola think you’re doing an awesome job, especially the mentors who invest their time to be with students, they’ll never forget the generosity, they will never forget you.

“That’s a powerful thing to remember.”

Want to become a mentor with 12 Buckets? Or help contribute to our success? You can fill out a mentor application form here, or donate to 12 Buckets here.