A colourful graffiti canvas, commissioned by Ronald McDonald House Charities to raise awareness of a program to help students who fall behind in their studies because of serious illness, brought a splash of colour to Civic on Monday.
It also brought a smile to the face of Jakub Kowalski, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 and missed several months of schooling while he was receiving treatment. Jakub is now catching up on his time away from the classroom, thanks to the Ronald McDonald Learning program.
Jakub's father, Martin Kowalski, said his son had been in the program for just over six months.
''He receives an hour's tutoring every week. He's improved across the board, not just in numeracy. His teachers have reported that he's very focused in class, very willing to engage in all activities,'' Mr Kowalski said.
The program provides one-on-one tutorials and supports students from kindergarten to year 12, teaching literacy, numeracy and other subjects.
The completion of the graffiti artwork, by local graffiti artist Geoff Filmer, is symbolic of a child's journey to catch up on their education.
''I was approached by Ronald McDonald House to [see] whether I could be a part of this project. Once they mentioned it was all about helping raising money to support the houses, and especially with the new one in Canberra, I couldn't not be a part of it,'' Mr Filmer said.
The artwork features Parliament House, a mother and child and a cherry blossom tree. People all around the Canberra Fountain City Walk were encouraged to spray their own piece on the canvas, just like Jakub did.
Jakub said the program had really helped him with his learning and that he feels that others should do the same. ''I don't want anyone feeling like they're sad and lonely if they don't know the answer. I think they [other children] would like to join. They'll meet new people and learn new things, like I did,'' he said.
For more information or to make a donation, visit rmhc.org.au