Feb 08

Local resident Gary Cooper will start his ‘Heart and Sole Challenge’ walking the Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway from Pelican Waters to Tewantin on Saturday 6 February local to raise $20,000 for Zephyr Education Inc, to assist children who have been affected by domestic violence.


As local children all head back to school this week, Mr Cooper is stepping it up to raise awareness for children who are not equipped with support and resources to tackle a new school year due to the impact of violence.


Mr Cooper does not let being blind and non-verbal get in the way of helping others and giving back to his community. His mother, Roz Cooper, could not be more proud and will be walking beside her son every step of the walk.


“It is really important to Gary that all children have an equal chance at life and that the money raised will go directly to supporting local children’s participation in extra-curricular activities such as school camps, music lessons and sporting equipment,” said Roz Cooper.


“Gary tries not to let the things he can’t do get in the way of doing things he can do and even though he is blind and non-verbal, he thoroughly enjoys the satisfaction of being able to help others.”


Established in 2013, Zephyr Education Inc currently supports the educational needs of children in 96 shelters and family services organisations throughout Queensland from the Gold Coast to Weipa and west to Mt Isa.


Zephyr Education Inc’s co-founder and President, Isabella Bevan, said that they have just experienced their busiest month preparing children for the school year.


“In 2020 we helped 1150 children start school and we estimate that this year we will exceed that figure with over 1000 school packs assembled before the end of November last year that included textbooks, stationery, lunch boxes and school bags,” said Ms Bevan.


“Many of these children arrive at domestic violence shelters with just the clothes they are wearing and it is vital for their self-esteem and continuing education that they fit into their new school. We ensure they have the same uniform, books and equipment as every other child.”


Mr Cooper is hoping that he can encourage as many people as possible to donate to this important charity and that they can also feel the satisfaction of giving back to the community – the same way he does.


“Walking 96km is a massive effort for Gary and he will be motivated to achieve his target by people joining him on the walk and giving him encouragement and donations,” said Ms Cooper.


 “Gary’s walk will culminate at ‘Gary’s Heart and Sole Fundraising Event’ at the Harbour Wine Bar, 5.30pm Thursday 11 February, where people are encouraged to come along to enjoy some live music, a silent auction and go into the draw for a lucky door prize.”


Donations can also be made directly to Zephyr Education Inc by visiting their website https://zephyreducation.com.au/support-us/donations/ and reference ‘GARY’ so that progress can be tracked. People will also be able to keep up to date with his progress by checking his Facebook page www.facebook.com/garysheartandsolechallenge

// Ends. 


“Gary’s Heart and Sole Fundraising Event”

5.30pm Thursday 11 February 2021

Harbour Wine Bar

2 Parkyn Court, Tewantin

$10 entry includes live music and food and drinks available to purchase

Lucky door prize with entry ticket and silent auction being held with over $2000 worth of items including helicopter scenic flights, accommodation and amazing vouchers



Zephyr Education Inc is a Brisbane-based charity assisting children – whose lives and education have been disrupted by domestic violence – get back to school as quickly as possible by supplying:

  • school uniforms and shoes
  • textbooks and stationery specific to the year and school they will be attending
  • school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, headphones, and other school items.

Zephyr Education Inc also supplies swimming gear and pays resource levies (e.g. for eLearning), camp fees and sports fees to make sure the children don’t miss out on these important activities.


Zephyr Education Inc is run by volunteers and no one receives any remuneration or expenses for their work. In the 2019-20 financial year, Zephyr’s volunteers:

  • approved requests to help more than 3000 children
  • distributed school items with a wholesale value of more than $201,800, and
  • paid for school uniforms totalling more than $110,500

Zephyr Education receives no government funding but is rather funded through community grants and general fundraising such as “Gary’s Heart and Sole Challenge”. On average, it costs $4000 to support the school-related needs of children at one shelter for one year.


Generous grant keeps Queenslanders socially connected

14 September 2021

Read more View more

Tech leadership and job creation high on agenda for new ICT industry group

02 September 2021

Read more View more

Award-winning firm continues to grow with appointment of new lawyer

02 September 2021

Read more View more

Sell-out season on the cards with six new MAMMA MIA! shows announced

23 August 2021

Read more View more