The Youth Frontiers program was introduced to Albion Park High School and involved collaboration with Workplace Learning Illawarra.
Youth Frontiers is a youth mentoring program funded by the NSW Department of Education & Communities. It is aimed at students in years 8 or 9, who have the capacity to benefit from youth mentoring that focuses on leadership and civic engagement.
The program aims to increase young peoples' involvement with the community. It is a minimum 6 month commitment with students meeting with mentors for 1-2 hours a week for a minimum of 30 hours. The goal of the program is for students to develop a Community project around the themes of Community Harmony, Youth Mental Health, Sporting Engagement, Environment and Conservation, Empowering Young Women, Centenary of Anzac, and there is a General Category for students who wish to develop their own idea.
Eight students from Year 9 (Joshua Bowden, Corey Debnam, Kory Griffiths, Riley MacQueen, Ethan Smith, Jackson Stolk, Taj Bartlett, Kade Lucas) were selected to participate in the 2015 program. Following an initial introduction to the program the mentees were matched with local mentors based on shared interests. They then spent time with their mentor to define goals and to plan their community service project.
One to one sessions were scheduled once a week at an arranged time to suit both the mentee and mentor. This was negotiated around the school timetable and took place within the school environment.
The projects developed by our students included the delivery of sport coaching sessions at the local primary school, the creation of an Anzac memorial garden and a bike ride in the local area to promote the outdoors and a healthy lifestyle. The students had to overcome a number of barriers and utilised teamwork, communication, leadership and decision making skills to achieve their goals.
The mentoring program took place in Terms 2 and 3 and culminated in showcases at the end of Term 4 where mentees presented the results of their community projects and shared what they had achieved. At this time the efforts of all of our students were recognised and all eight students should be congratulated for their creativity, flexibility and persistence.
The students involved would like to acknowledge the assistance given to them by their mentors, who volunteered their time so that the program could run and also the significant contribution of Shelly Mainon, Sharon Justice and Fiona Crane from Workplace Learning Illawarra who coordinated the program. We were also lucky to have a number of donations from the local community that allowed the Anzac memorial garden to be planted.
Following the submission of all 2015 projects, Jackson Stolk's project has been selected as a State Finalist and he will attend an awards ceremony on Wednesday 17 February at NSW Parliament House. We wish Jackson luck at this presentation!