Having co-ordinated programs across Australia for more than a decade, The Raise Youth Mentoring program will be introduced at Wallan Secondary College in term two, after a successful three years at Whittlesea Secondary College.

A youth mentoring program at Wallan Secondary College, WSC, this year, will help support students through the challenges of their teenage years, particularly in a post-COVID world.

Hosted by youth mentoring organisation Raise Foundation in high schools across Australia, the program provides young people with a caring, independent volunteer mentors who attend each week with time to listen and encourages young people to talk through their struggles.

Raise Foundation founder and chief executive Vicki Condon said the effects of having a positive mentor could be easily recognised.

“When people donate their time to listen, young people learn to cope better with life’s challenges while benefiting from one-to-one support,” she said.

“The young people who graduate experience growth in resilience, help seeking skills, sense of school belonging and hope for the future.”

A survey in 2020 found one in four teenagers are unhappy with their lives, particularly as a result of the pandemic. Further, UNICEF found that 45 per cent of Australian youth indicated being behind in school compared to before the pandemic.

A survey of Headspace users found 74 per cent experienced worsened mental health since the onset of the pandemic, and 86 per cent reported negative effects on their wellbeing, mood and sleeping habits.

Ms Condon said the mentoring program would help affected youth return to normality and get back to where they were before COVID-19.

“One of the strongest predictors of how a child develops in terms of happiness, academic success, resilience and meaningful relationships is whether at least one adult has consistently shown up for them,” she said.

“Wallan Secondary College have the wellbeing of their students top of mind and recognise that support from a mentor during the teenage years can change the course of a young person’s life.”

Raise Foundation is currently recruiting volunteers to be trained to mentor young people who are participating at WSC in 2022. The program will run during terms two and three.

The WSC program will be 10.20am to 12.20pm on Wednesdays, beginning in April. For more information and to apply to mentor, visit www.raise.org.au/mentor.