Urgent call for mentors to help struggling teens

Published 6:00am 1 February 2024

Urgent call for mentors to help struggling teens
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

A not-for-profit charity that helps struggling teens with their health and wellbeing is searching for more volunteers to become school mentors.

The Raise Foundation, which already delivers mentoring programs to 180 schools across Australia, is seeking volunteers from Moreton Bay to assist with a new program that will start at Albany Creek State High School.

Founded in 2008, the Raise Foundation aims to empower young people through early intervention mentoring to build a generation of resilient, confident and hopeful individuals.

Raise Foundation Founder and CEO Vicki Condon says through the program you can help make a positive difference in a young person’s life.

“Young people in our programs are continuing to struggle with anxiety, bullying, depression and discrimination and mentors play an important role in helping equip mentees with the tools to navigate this rocky stage of life,” Vicki says.

As outlined on the Raise Foundation website, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people.

It also states one in four young people will experience bullying at school, one in six feel negative or very negative about the future, and one in 12 are disengaged from education and work.

Mentors will work with young people in years 7-9 and are matched with students who would benefit the most from having a caring, trusted adult who shows up for them each week during the six-month program.

Mentors will need to be available for 20 weeks during the school term and spend two hours at the school on the same day and time each week.

All training is provided.

“You’ll receive industry accredited training and full support from qualified counsellors throughout the program,” Vicki says.

Urgent call for mentors to help struggling teens
Above: Tom from the Origin Energy Foundation volunteered with the Raise Foundation in 2023.

Building a brighter future for young people

One company who has partnered with the Raise Foundation is Origin Energy.

Since 2021, Origin Energy employees from across the country have undertaken training to become youth mentors as part of the foundation’s volunteering program.

This year the focus is on supporting areas where mentors are still needed to ensure the program can go ahead, like Albany Creek.

Origin Energy Foundation volunteering program manager Tania Carlos says employees enjoy giving back to their local community.

“In addition to having huge benefits for the young people involved, our employees who volunteer as mentors say the connection with their mentee gave them a sense of purpose and improved their active listening skills,” Tania says.

After mentoring a 14-year-old who was struggling with their confidence and focusing at school, Tom - a manager at Origin Energy - says he found the experience to be very rewarding.

“I faced some similar challenges at that age, so there were parts of their experience I could relate to and share stories about,” Tom says.

“I’d like to think our time together helped this young person learn more about their natural strengths, realise those strengths are special, and chase their passions without fear.

“Signing up as a mentor I initially felt a bit intimated, but it ended up being such an incredible experience. It taught me lessons I can apply in my role as a corporate leader as well as a parent.

“It meant so much realising what a positive difference I helped make at such a formative time in their life and I’d encourage anyone considering signing up to have a go.”

Register your interest

Last year the Raise youth mentoring program reached 2,824 young people.

This year Raise aim to have 2,210 mentors enrolled by the end of February to help support as many young people as possible throughout 2024.

Registration close on February 28.

For more information or to register your interest, visit the website.


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