Raquel Stevens

Sometimes in life all we need is a few wins on the board. However, even getting one can be difficult for some people. Viydee Carman knows this better than anyone.  She left home at 16 and was struggling to make ends meet but was determined to finish her education.

The 20 year old aspired to be a youth worker and the Daylesford Foundation Youth Scholarship program helped her fulfil those dreams.

Viydee, life was at the crossroads for you a few years ago, describe what that was like?

When I was about 16, I probably wasn’t going on the best path in my life and I was playing up at school and everything. I had to sit down and look at myself in the mirror and say, “What do you want to come out of your life?”

I left home, moved to Bacchus Marsh but still needed to get to school in Daylesford every day. I really put my head in the books and tried to study as hard as I could so I could make a life for myself.

How did the Daylesford Foundation scholarship help you?

The scholarship honestly changed my life. I can’t even imagine where I would be without the support they have given me. I remember when I first met with the Foundation, I left and was driving home and I started crying. I was like, “Oh my god! Why are these people being so nice to me?” They’re amazing, really amazing.

They’ve put me through my youth work and now my diploma of counselling.

Viydee was one of the first students the Daylesford Foundation sponsored. The program is now in its third year. Dr Jo Van Son is the student support co-ordinator. She says a scholarship can be life changing.  

We meet with the young person and find out a little bit more about why they’re interested in studying and what they would like to get out of the study. We also find out what some of the challenges that might get in the way of that.

What are some of those challenges?

Public transport is hard. Often they have to be able to drive, so they need a licence, or they have to pay for accommodation at university. In some cases, we’ve provided the first six months of living on campus, so that they have time to find themselves a new part-time job.

Even enrolling can be a significant challenge when you just don’t even understand the language that’s being used. Or knowing how to access the scholarships that might exist in those places, and the extra scholarships that are available. Some of these students have never been to Melbourne.

How important is it to encourage young people to continue study?

We know for certain any kind of post-school qualifications really set young people up for long-term success around, you know, health indicators. If we can support young people to stay with study, we know we’re breaking the cycle of the kind of social disadvantage that we still see in the community.

It must be very satisfying to see them turn their lives around.

Oh absolutely. And in particular when you’ve got someone like Viydee who is now working as a youth worker for Moorabool Shire. That’s fantastic.

Viydee’s goal is to one day return to Daylesford College as a Wellness counsellor.

I wish that when I was going through that rougher stage in my life, I had someone there. I want to be that person for the young people and tell them, “I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I know what you’re going through.” I’m still relatively close in age with these people, so they don’t think I’m like this old lady trying to tell them how to rule their life. (haha).

I think Daylesford College, or in fact, any organisation is lucky to have you.


The Daylesford Foundation is now welcoming Scholarship applications from Year 12 students who live in the Hepburn Shire and plan to attend TAFE or University in 2024. Scholarships are also available to students who plan to start work in 2024.

The Scholarships are tailored to each individual student needs to support them to transition successfully to the next stage of their life.  Previous applicants have received support with things such as rent, on campus accommodation, laptops, uniforms, or book vouchers.

All interested students to apply at: Scholarship Application (thedaylesfordfoundation.org.au)

Applying is easy and should take no more than 10 minutes!

Applications will be accepted until the 5th of January, 2024 but students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Raquel Stevens is a former Network Ten News Journalist. She has been a part time local for more than 25 years, and one day hopes to be a full time local.