Lifestyle

Youth partnership provides a MATE and mentor for life

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March 12, 2018

Tamara Evans and her MATES mentor Kath Corrigan have been meeting up for three years now.

IF YOU’VE got the time, why not find a MATE?

The MATES Youth Mentoring Program, run by Campaspe Youth Partnership, is putting the call out for more locals to join the team.

The program connects school students with a positive volunteer role model who can help them enhance their life experiences through sharing common interests, developing skills and setting goals for their lives.

But most importantly it’s about having someone who can sit down and just chat to.

“The program isn’t about setting any major goals or setting out to drastically change the student’s life,” project officer Cheryl Sweeney said.

“It’s about providing a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring adults who offer guidance, support and encouragement.

“MATES is an acronym for Mentor, Assist, Target, Engage and Skills, as these are all important aspects of this program.”

The program started locally at the end of 2017 and organisers are hoping to offer the program to more students at Echuca College, Echuca Specialist School and St Joseph’s College this year, under the Campaspe Youth Partnership and Campaspe Cohuna LLEN.

It’s already been operating for three years in Kyabram, with great success.

“We have a mentor and a student who have been meeting for three years — since the student was in Year 12,” Cheryl said.

The pair have been meeting for an hour each week at St Augustine’s College in Kyabram.

“I was always interested in how people of different ages interact, I’ve been a carer for most of my life so I’ve worked with everyone,” mentor Kath Corrigan said.

“It’s a bit of a commitment but because it’s during school hours and not over the school holidays it’s easy to work in, we find a time that suits us both.

“I think it’s just about being a friend without being intrusive.

“But that being said I went along to her Year 10 formal, saw her artworks at exhibitions and watched her in the production because she wanted me to be there.”

All mentors will need a working with children check and to comply with the child safety standards.

CCLLEN can offer assistance with the application process and a working with children check is free of charge for volunteers.

Mentors will be trained with two two-hour training sessions on March 22 and 27 from 1pm-3pm.

This training will provide the potential mentors with information about the program and develop skills suitable for the mentoring role.

If you are over 18, can commit to one hour per week and are interested in making a difference in the life of a young person, contact Campaspe Cohuna LLEN on 54826055 or email projects@ccllen.com.au

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