Stawell College grateful for work of volunteer mentors

STAWELL - Stawell Secondary College is grateful to the local GRAMPS-MATES organisation whose volunteer members have again provided an hour of their time each week throughout the year to mentor some students at the school.

Grampians Region Adolescent Mentoring Program-MATES is a mentoring program that involves adults drawn from the local community. These volunteers work with young people from the Stawell Secondary College, who would benefit from additional contact with an adult person.

The contact involves one hour per week, and the mentoring is conducted on a one-to-one basis. The concept of mentoring is not new - it is simply a relationship where a more experienced person helps a less experienced person achieve goals - it is widely used in industry, sport and education.

Youth mentoring is an effective way of providing young people with a supportive and enriching experience. It aims to provide a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement. It empowers young people to develop to their fullest potential.

Mentor and mentee share time together on model-making projects, craft or art activities, cooking, literacy, board games, photography, sport, fishing or just chatting about life circumstances, building relationships and skills, and setting goals to enhance their futures. Group activities have included trips to Ballarat and to Hall's Gap for petanque. The students have appreciated the caring concern and wisdom of their mentors.

Generally mentoring is seen to be effective. Studies have shown that mentees are less likely to initiate drug or alcohol use, have more regular attendance at school, and develop better relationships with parents and peers.

The running of the GRAMPS-MATES program is totally reliant on external funding.

Funding to run the program over the last twelve months has been provided by Crocodile Gold Corp Stawell Gold Mines Community Grants Program and Northern Grampians Shire Council Youth Grants Program.

Sincere appreciation is extended to the 2013 mentors: Bob De Clifford, Wendy Melbourne, Roz Byass, Rita Dunn, John Launder, Val Nicholson, Deb Jenkinson, Cheryl Stacpool, Verna Pickford, John and Beth Anselmi, Garry and Sharon Parkinson, Barry Marrow, Jean Jones, Daniel Sos and Sarah Garton for their dedication each week to the students, and the CGLLEN team for their support.

Each year new students enter the school requiring volunteers.

There are many people eager to participate in some form of community service, simply out of desire to 'give something back' to the broader community.

Volunteer mentors are always warmly welcomed and matched with a student of similar interests and outlook after introductory training. Ongoing support is provided. Any member of the community interested in joining the 2014 Mentoring Program can contact Julie Erwin for details.

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