Do you know that Australia’s biggest mentoring program is a Christian initiative, involving partnerships between churches and their local primary school? Its called Kids Hope!
Since 2011 our church has been providing caring Kids Hope mentors for vulnerable kids at Jannali Public School. The school nominates the kids they believe would most benefit from the program, and each child is matched with a volunteer mentor. The mentors visit the school for an hour each week at a time convenient for them, and spend time doing various academic & fun activities – with the goal of developing a caring relationship with their special child. The children in the program range from Kinder to Year 6, boys and girls. Their circumstances are varied, often complex, and sometimes heartbreaking. The involvement of a mentor in making these children feel loved is truly invaluable!
A Department of Education official, visiting the school, had the opportunity to observe a Jannali Anglican mentor meeting with her child. She’d never heard of Kids Hope before and had no idea what it was about. At the end of her visit, she said to the mentor ‘We need a hundred of you in a hundred schools!’
Here’s what other people involved with Kids Hope have had to say:
“I get so excited for Fridays because I know you love me”. “You’re my best friend” (from mentored children)
“The lady who sees (the mentored child) is amazing; I’m so impressed with her commitment to helping her” (from a teacher)
“Our son’s mentor is the best thing that’s happened to him at school”. “Can you please tell the mentor that our son is really enjoying it?” (parents of mentored children)
“I’m getting as much out of the program as my kid is!” “He’s always so excited to see me”. “My child is a delight”. “I went to give him a high-five at the end of our session and he hugged me” (from the mentors)
“I highly value Kids Hope because it directly and significantly impacts on student wellbeing and school culture” (from the school principal)
“When the child returns to their classroom after meeting with their mentor, the effect on their classmates and teachers is positive, and then as they leave school for the day, their family and friends are also positively impacted” (from the school chaplain)
Thank you to all our wonderful Mentors (some are in their 5th year of mentoring!): Allison Laney, Barry Steele, Linda Streeter, Janette Richardson, Lesley Marks, Dave Hancock, Robyn Petty, Helen Palmer, Cathy Hinks, Mick Ryan, Brianna Laney & Cathie Smithers (co-ordinator).
The school would LOVE more mentors! Can you spare an hour a week? Think about it, pray about it, speak to any of the mentors & ask questions – find out if this is the right ministry for you! Contact Cathie on 0431 115 408 or Cathie.firstname.lastname@example.org.