The Centre received funding from the Federal Government's Family Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA) to establish and maintain a youth mentoring program.
The "1-2-1 Mentor" program has been initiated by the Bonnie Doon Community Group and subsidised by the Australian Government under the motto of 'building stronger families and communities'.
The program aims to provide young people the opportunity to reach their potential by increasing their self-esteem through social interaction with positive role models. At the outset, potential mentors participate in a ten-hour training program, which teaches basic mentoring skills and helps them to decide whether to commit their time to the program.
Following the training course, mentors are requested to provide two character references and, at no cost to themselves, to undergo a police check to obtain their 'working with children clearance'. During all this time, the program coordinator is liaising with schools, youth groups and parents to recruit young people to the program.
Any child between the ages of 12 and 17 is welcome to join. Mentors and mentees are paired according to personality and mutual rapport. The matching occurs during a social gathering at the Bonnie Doon Community Centre.
After mentor and mentee have successfully paired-up, they meet four to six hours per month for one year. The meetings always occur in a public place such as the community center, for example.
Excursions and other group activities are organised by the program's coordinator. It is up to the mentoring couple to decide on how to spend their time together. They have a choice of activities ranging from cosy chats to structured past times such as arts, craft, woodwork, fishing and many more.
The program coordinator and her support team are available at any time to lend practical and moral assistance to both parties of the mentoring relationship.
Formal mentor meetings are scheduled every two months. This gives mentors the chance to discuss their experiences and possible concerns with each other, offer mutual support and maybe even form friendships.
If you are willing to spend some time with a child and pass on your life experiences, why not become a mentor and have fun while contributing to the future of our community.