Mentoring comes to schools

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Young people across Hedland will soon have a new avenue of guidance as a mentoring program comes to schools.

Not-for-profit organisation EdConnect has partnered with the Roy Hill Foundation to bring volunteers to partner with students at St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School and Hedland Senior High School in the Mentor Me program.

Rural liaison officer Karen Barden said the program aimed to inspire generations and equip young people with life skills they wouldn’t otherwise gain in the classroom.

“It’s basically one hour a week and it’s much more about social and emotional support rather than academic support,” she said.

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“We’re harnessing the wisdom and skills of older generations to enrich the learning experience for young people who are at risk of falling by the wayside in an often over-burdened school system.”

The program hoped to give everyone an opportunity to realise their potential, Ms Barden said, in school, life and society.

Mentors are now being sought to be a part of the program and participate in the one-day training session this week.

“Anyone over 18 can be a mentor, from all walks of life with all different life experiences,” Ms Barden said. “Really just someone that’s prepared to give their time, cares about kids and wants to make a difference in their local community.”

While the program will be a first in Port Hedland, it has been taking place in several Perth schools with beneficial results.

In some areas, the program has has a 93 per cent improvement in self-esteem, a 67 per cent increase in participation in classrooms, 79 per cent enhanced social skills and 68 per cent improved concentration, according to EdConnect.

To become a mentor, community members simply need to contact EdConnect and they will then go through a screening process and interviews before attending a training session at Hedland Senior High School.

Ms Barden will travel to Port Hedland on June 15 for the one-day training session and encourages anyone to contact her to be a mentor.

“Whatever stage of life you’re at, we all have the potential to do good, to make a difference,” she said.

“It’s about improving confidence and resilience and the ability to take on a challenge which can transfer into their school work.”

To contact EdConnect visit the website at edconnectaustralia.org.au or phone Karen Barden on 0438 028 646.

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