With more than 20,000 young Australians homeless, Honda Australia together with the Honda Racing F1 Team’s earthdreams initiative is assisting the Lighthouse Foundation to bridge the digital divide by providing hundreds of young people in Victoria with the opportunity to gain access to the information, education and skills to enable them to be self-sufficient.
The widening digital divide, as it has become known, is increasingly an issue amongst those who are already disadvantaged through lack of access to information and communication technology.
Understanding the role technology plays in reaching dreams, Honda Racing F1 Team drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello today presented $100,000 to the Lighthouse Foundation team at its headquarters in Richmond.
“Young people who lack consistent access to the newest digital technology are at risk of falling behind their peers. For young homeless people the digital divide is of greater concern as they are already the most marginalised people in our community,” said Kane Bowden, CEO, Lighthouse Foundation.
“Thanks to the generous contribution to the Honda Racing F1 Team and Honda Australia, our young people will be empowered to truly engage with their peers and with the opportunities that new technology brings.”
The Lighthouse Foundation, which responds to the urgent and complex needs of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, has cared for more than 300 young people in Victoria. Almost half of the homeless people in Victoria are under 24 years of age.
The funding will provide access to the latest technology for more than 350 people, enabling the Lighthouse Foundation to connect young people with positive futures through education and schooling support.
Speaking at the event, Lindsay Smalley, Senior Director, Honda Australia, said: “Each young person who gets caught in a lifelong ‘career’ in homelessness is said to cost the community around $1 million. Honda is pleased to support the Lighthouse Foundation and connect young people to a better future with the latest technology.”
The $100,000 was presented to the Lighthouse Foundation with equal contributions from the Honda Racing F1 Team’s earthdreams programme and Honda Australia’s Honda Foundation.
Combining their efforts for the Lighthouse Foundation, the Honda Foundation, formed in 1992, has disbursed more than $5 million in grants to a wide range of applicants from the Australian community.
The Honda Racing F1 Team’s earthdreams is a unique programme in F1 and world sport, which invests in inspirational environmental and social projects to make the world a better place.
“Committed to engendering goodwill for the benefit of Australian communities, the Honda Foundation is thrilled to unite with earthdreams to provide support for the Lighthouse Foundation,” said Mr Smalley.
“By working with the Lighthouse Foundation, Honda will enable these young people to realise the power of dreams by building technology infrastructure that is backed with a solid educational and training program.”
Nick Fry, CEO, Honda Racing F1 Team, said: “The Lighthouse Foundation is exactly the sort of inspirational project that earthdreams, Honda Racing F1’s positive marketing programme, was established to support.”
Further demonstrating the partnership between Honda and the Lighthouse Foundation, Jenson Button donated at the event his first official race suit for the 2008 season, which he personally signed. The Lighthouse Foundation will auction the suit on its online auction house, which will be launched in April. (ENDS)
About Honda Australia
A subsidiary of Honda Motor Co, Honda Australia is one of the leading importers and retailers of quality vehicles in Australia. Established in 1969 in Melbourne, Honda Australia’s Head Office is located in the Melbourne suburb of Tullamarine. The Office shares an 8 ha site with the national training centre and the Southern Region office, responsible for sales in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory.
Also located in Tullamarine is the Honda National Parts Warehouse, in 1980 to store and distribute Honda Genuine parts and accessories from a single location. The warehouse’s 16,000 square metres - as big as three Melbourne Cricket Grounds - holds more than 120,000 varieties of part. About 100,000 parts are dispatched every month. Parts are picked, packed and dispatched across Australia daily, with a strike rate above 97 per cent first time. The Northern Region office, with responsibility for NSW, ACT and Queensland, is in Sydney's west, at Auburn.
Honda also has a state office for Queensland in Brisbane and another for WA in Perth. The Honda MPE Head Office is in Victoria at Campbellfield in Melbourne's north. Honda Australia employs about 140 associates in the motor vehicle operation. Of these, around 75 work in the Head Office in Tullamarine, Victoria, with a further 25 in the adjoining national replacement parts warehouse. The remainder operates from Honda's regional and state offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Honda has enjoyed 5 years of record sales and in 2007 sold over 60,000 cars to make it Honda’s eighth largest global seller.
About earthdreams – powering dreams one lap at a time
In 2007, the Honda Racing F1 team broke new ground not only in F1 but in sport when the team launched the ‘earth car’ and helped raise environmental awareness through the global reach of F1.
The initiative received critical acclaim from the environmental community by winning two prestigious green awards and connected with fans across the world. Over 70,000 people pledged their support and made donations to environmental causes and their names were carried on the Honda RA 107 race cars.
Since last year’s launch, the environment has become an even bigger issue for our planet and in our sport. This year, we are further developing our environmental initiative and moving the focus from raising awareness to action as part of a significant and deep-rooted ongoing commitment.
A key element will be investing in inspirational environmental and social projects that have a positive impact on the world around them through the creation of earthdreams – a unique global sports marketing program whose message will be carried by the RA 108 race cars and supported through all aspects of the Honda Racing F1 team.
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