FOURTEEN students are set to make positive changes to their communities after completing the Bendigo Social Change 101 program.
The four-month program was run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs and consisted of students being taught valuable skills to get their not-for-profit initiatives off the ground.
Student Lyndon Galea created Eat Up, a social enterprise that identifies vulnerable children in schools, who are facing food insecurity.
Eat Up collaborates with Foodbank and TAFE providers for the supply, preparation and packaging of more than 500 free lunches a month to schools in Shepparton.
Mr Galea will expand the program across four primary schools in Bendigo and two in inner Melbourne.
He said the skills gained through the program were invaluable and would help him further expand his initiative.
"It's been a massive help," he said.
"When I started in Shepparton it was a passion and dream but now it's tangible.
"All of the teachers and guest speakers have been incredibly inspiring and deliver their gems in a practical and accessible manner."
Shani Aziz, who runs a hip hop initiative called Breaking the Mould, said the program taught her how to create a business plan, apply for funding and create formal assessment tools to monitor her program's success.
"We looked a lot at the financial side of things ... which solved a few (business) problems," she said.
"It's really important to have a business plan."
She said her initiative consisted of a leadership program for vulnerable young people.
She said young people were taught leadership skills through hip hop culture, including beat boxing, dancing and street art.
She said the program was mostly taught to young women who were identified by their schools as being disengaged.
Bendigo Social Change 101 was funded and supported by Bendigo Students Association, La Trobe University, Lisa Chesters and several businesses.
Students were matched with a mentor and were taught vital business skills, to help turn their ideas into a reality.
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