Call for national youth mentoring strategy
Wesley Mission today released a ten-point plan to build better mentoring support in our community after its latest research report revealed that three in four young people who have been formally mentored have been able to set realistic goals and realise an expanded and positive view of the future.
At a time of rising anti-social behaviour and community concern about the future of young people, the report found that 80 per cent say that mentoring increased their self-esteem and had a positive impact on their behaviour.
More than two thirds of young people believed they would benefit from a mentoring relationship over the next 12 months with work/career planning, education and practical matters like getting a driver’s licence.
The findings are contained in Give kids a chance: Seeing a better future with mentoring, the latest research report from Wesley Mission released in Sydney on November 7.
The research sought the views of more than 250 young people in New South Wales aged 15-25 about their goals and plans, and the role that adult mentoring played in developing and clarifying them.
“Young people aged 15 to 25 face a time of profound personal change as they make the transition from youth to adulthood, and from school to further education, training and employment,” said the Rev. Dr Keith Garner, the CEO of Wesley Mission.
“This Report confirms Wesley Mission’s experience that mentoring is one of the most effective means of supporting those who are unsure about their direction or at risk of dropping out.”
Among the other findings in Give kids a chance are
- Fifty-three per cent of all young people have no real clarity about what they want to do in life and no clear plans for the next few years in terms of their career.
- A third of young people are hungry for more adult guidance and support than they currently receive.
- Between one-half and two thirds of those mentored report positive outcomes with educational attainment, quality of relationships, employment prospects, anti-social behaviour and reduced smoking/drinking/drug use.
The Report makes ten recommendations for action including raising community awareness of the benefits of formal mentoring, developing a national youth mentoring strategy and investigating the potential for mentoring programs to harness online and mobile communications technology.
“Young people, and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, often have a very narrow view of their options due to lack of guidance and advice,” Dr Garner said.
“Mentoring, quite literally, can help them see a different future.”
Wesley Mission runs a number of mentoring programs. Aunties & Uncles provides ongoing support to younger children through pairing them with a volunteer “aunt” or “uncle”, while the EQUIP program connects young people in Western Sydney with an older adult volunteer.
In addition, many of Wesley Mission’s youth services incorporate informal mentoring approaches such as outreach centres, homelessness services, foster care programs and the Vision Valley recreation camp.
Wesley Mission’s Aunties & Uncles program currently has more than 170 children and young people on the waiting list to join the program. It desperately needs funds to train and support the many people who have volunteered to be mentors for the program.
Give kids a chance: Seeing a better future with mentoring can be downloaded here.
Recommendations can be viewed on pages 64-69 of the report.