Students selected for mentoring program
Ten Year 10 students at Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy campus have been selected to take part in a mentoring program which aims to connect them with someone whose own life experiences allow them to provide advice, insights and opportunities that the students might not otherwise have access to.
Run for an hour a week over three months, the pairs are matched for mutual interests, past experience and initial connections.
Central Coast Secondary Schools Mentoring program coordinator Ms Cassi White said the goal was to help students as they faced one of their first big life decisions: continuing on with their Higher School Certificate or leaving at the end of Year 10 to join the workforce.
Ms White said the aim of the program was not to sway students either way, but to show them that they had options and to help them make an informed choice.
"The program is all about engaging kids who might be wrestling with the decision to stay on or leave and connecting them with someone with real world experience who isn't a parent, carer or teacher."
Ms White said the benefits of the program had been palpable, with teachers reporting increased school attendance, better communication skills and more engagement in the classroom.
"At the end of the day the students gain a new sense of what it means to be connected to the community and have a friend and confidante they know is there because they want to help them succeed, no matter what they decide," Ms White said.
Central Coast Mentoring Network president Mr Richard Kennedy said: "Our mentors are often older people with a wealth of life experience, knowledge and expertise, but they're often people who feel disconnected from the community.
"Through the program, mentors get to engage with young people, foster a new sense of community and generally report a sense of improved wellbeing after being involved," he said.
Mr Kennedy said both organisations were always on the lookout for new mentors and encouraged any interested locals to visit the Central Coast Mentoring Network website for more information about basic requirements and how to get involved.
Interview (Dilon Luke), 18 Feb 2020
Richard Kennedy, Central Coast Mentoring Network
Cassi White, Central Coast Secondary Schools Mentoring