Being young, free and happy is for most, some of life’s best years. You have support at home, life’s reasonably carefree and responsibility is something that’s almost abstract.
Imagine though for a moment, being in a place where you feel alone, scared and worthless. Your options are running out. There’s no one you feel comfortable to turn to and you can’t chat to your mates about your issues – some of them may think you’re weak or some may listen, but give you poor advice with the best of intentions. You try your parents. Dad’s not in the picture anymore and Mum’s working as hard as she can to look after you and your sister – best not worry her, she’s stressed enough as it is just trying to keep the bills sorted.
This isn’t as uncommon as we may think. Many young people all over the country are facing similar situations. While many kids grow up with a reasonably idealistic childhood, some children, Australia wide, are in trouble and need help. This is where community organisation Raise has identified a need to help.
Figures show us that only 36% of young people will seek professional help* and that over 75% of mental health problems begin to arise before the age of 25*. This is a concerning combination, however, with the right support at home and from other adult mentors, most kids are able to work through these issues as they arise.
For some though, support is limited due to poor home life, busy parents or lack of extended family just to name a few. With nowhere to turn, these kids can begin to fall through the cracks, become further socially isolated. These students often disengage from learning which in turn, impacts their future prospects and can lead to further mental health issues.
To stop this ill-fated journey in its tracks, Raise Mentoring Program is an early intervention initiative that works with schools all over Australia. The first step in the program is to identify kids that are at increased risk and of course, the best people to help recognise these kids are their teachers. Once identified, students are asked if they’d like to participate in the program and furthermore, their parents or carers are also contacted to give their permission. Raise Mentoring Program leaders have found that so far, that the uptake nationwide has been good and the initial perception of the program from students and parents/carers has been a positive one.
Once registered into the program, each child receives 6 months of consistent mentoring with their dedicated Raise mentor. The mentors are not only there to be a friendly support and to talk to kids who need them most, they’re also coached by qualified counsellors and this has had a huge impact on kids who have been through the program.
Belmore Boys High School
Locally to Lantern Club in the Canterbury Bankstown area, 15 at risk kids at Belmore Boys High School have been selected to participate in the program. The boys will be paired with mentors who will regularly catch up with them to listen, give sound advice and counsel when needed. The entire team at Lantern Club is excited to be able to partner with Raise, an organisation who shares its vision. Debbie Waicokacola, General Manager of Lantern Club went on to say,
“Our Vision at Lantern Club is to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life and helping Raise to provide opportunities for kids to improve their communication, confidence and general well being is very important to our team. Many of us at the Club, like myself, are parents who want the best for our growing families, so we are ecstatic to be able to partner with Raise to support local kids.”
Lantern Club’s donation of just over $11,900 will go towards training mentors, community awareness about the project as well as specific tools to help kids in the project realise their full potential.
Raise needs you!
‘Raise is always looking for new mentors and provides training and accreditation to be able to help kids in need. If you’d like to make a difference in your local community, click here to find out more.