YES Youth and Family Services have initiated an exciting new mentoring program for the border as part of their Youth Connections program. The official launch of the program will be held during National Youth Mentoring Week (Monday 24th to Friday 28th of October).
Dominic Somers has recently joined YES Youth and Family Services as the co-ordinator of the mentoring program, bringing with him experience as a teacher and a mentor, himself. He says that the major difficulty in developing this sort of program is being able to find willing and committed volunteer mentors, especially males.
“I am thrilled about this great new program. It has the potential to benefit many young people, and the community enormously. We currently have six mentor-mentee matches running and have already seen positive outcomes in our first two months.”
The Youth Connections Mentoring Program involves local volunteers between the ages of 18-75 years who are willing to be fully screened and trained, then matched to a suitable young participant in the Youth Connections program. The pair meet for a minimum of two hours fortnightly, with a one year commitment and are continually monitored and supported by YES to ensure success.
“The role of the mentor is to be a consistent, positive role-model and guide to their young person who might be facing a variety of different challenges. An activity that a mentor and their young person undertakes might be as simple as kicking a footy in a park for an hour, and could make a big difference to the young person. So the message is, it’s not a difficult role to take on, but can be a truly effective way to make a difference.”
Youth Connections has been successfully running in Albury for over 18 months, providing a program to assist young people aged 11-19 years who are at high risk of not completing year 12 (or equivalent) or making a successful transition into further education, training or employment. Youth Connections provides case management and personalised assistance to participants with an aim of keeping them engaged or re-engaging them with education or training. The mentoring program is an addition to Youth Connections, providing young people with another avenue for support.
The launch of the Youth Connections Mentoring Program will be held at 10am on Thursday 27th October at ‘The Hub’ in Macauley Street. Confirmed guests include Greg Aplin MP, representatives from the Albury City Council, the Australian Tax Office, CSU, La Trobe and Riverina Institute of TAFE.