by Evelyn Leckie

ANNA Rysenbry is calling for Whittlesea community members to raise their hand and volunteer this year for a good cause.

Raise is a non-for- profit organisation that runs mentoring programs in state schools across Australia.

The program matches volunteers with young persons in school that are at risk of disengagement.

In Australia, one in 10 young people are completely disengaged from education, employment and training.

Raise helps to empower young people to become more resilient, capable and connected by delivering best practice mentoring programs that are supervised by counsellors.

Ms Rysenbry volunteered as a mentor at Whittlesea Secondary College and told the Review that it was an incredibly rewarding experience.

“I almost felt like I get more out of it than the young person because it’s so nice when you sit with them and you give them the opportunity to be who they want to be,” she said.

“The mentees are so happy to know that you are there just for them.

“Once I had a mentee who was so shocked – they asked me ‘wow, so you don’t get paid to be here and you drive an hour each week just to see me? That is so special!’”

Ms Rysenbry said a big part of why she joined Raise was the organisation’s commitment to people in need of the service.

“If you’re going to commit that time to someone who needs it, you want to make sure you commit properly to that young person,” she said.

“We’re looking for volunteers in Whittlesea – it has been harder to recruit because of the location.

“The Whittlesea mentor groups have been really strong in the past – it’s just getting the numbers up.”

If you are over 21 and interested in volunteering with Raise – visit raise.org.au/volunteer for more information.
No qualifications, skills or experience are required.