Raise Foundation’s Program Counsellors play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the Raise mentoring program in hundreds of high schools across the country. Find out more about the significance of meaningful connections and the match process...
The significance of meaningful connections
Raise Foundation’s Program Counsellors play a pivotal role ensuring the success of the Raise mentoring program in hundreds of high schools across the country. One of their roles is to connect the students in schools to the mentors from the community and ensure everyone feels supported throughout the 23-week program.
Raise Program Counsellor, Jade, explains
“At the start of the program, it’s more about helping the mentors and young people develop an understanding of what the program is, what it’s going to look like for them, and what the expectations are around respect, confidentiality and participation.”
A mentee-led approach
The Raise mentoring programs are mentee led from the very beginning. The program begins with an information session open to all students. Students who express an interest and have parental consent then join the program. The first session is orientation where both students and mentor's complete questionnaires about their interests. The responses to the questions help the Program Counsellors match students to mentors with similar interests.
Orientation fosters a sense of safety, fun and comfort for both mentors and students. Boundaries, expectations and guidelines are set for a fulfilling and enjoyable mentoring experience and ensured success though the evidence based mentoring program. Lani, a Program Manager in South Australia explains “Our counsellors establish a good rapport with the young people, facilitating a smoother matching process”.
What is “Jitters” and why is it so important?
After orientation, the Program Counsellors move on to the crux of the matching process known as the ‘Jitters’ stage. This is the first time the mentors and students meet and start interacting and getting to know each other. ‘Jitters’ includes ice breaker games between mentors and students run by the Program Counsellors. Everyone has an opportunity to create connections - and to brush off the nerves of meeting new people.
The fast-paced, ‘getting to know you’ activities allow the students to start to think about who they connect with. The Jitters sessions are built around having fun, but also give the Program Counsellors a chance to observe the interactions between mentors and young people. The ‘chat circle’ format ensures students meet all the mentors in the room. At the end of the Jitters session the Program Counsellors privately gives the students an opportunity to share their preference of which mentor they would like to be paired with for the 23-week program. Letting the young people nominate their preferred mentors ensures that the program is mentee led from the get-go.
Connections are stronger than ever
Now that the 2023 programs are in full swing, Program Manager Lani, reflects on the experience; “I was amazed by the high level of engagement among the group. Experienced mentors approached me frequently to express that this year's Jitters were even better than those in the past”.
Program Counsellor Jade remarks “students knew exactly who they wanted to be partnered with and were really eager to begin… it was really heart-warming to witness the connections forming so quickly”.
Young people are not the only ones benefitting from the Raise Youth Mentoring Program – our mentors consistently tell us how much they benefited from the experience. They are often pleasantly surprised by how applicable the skills they’ve learned are to their daily lives. Through mentoring, our mentors gain skills around communication, empathy for young people, understanding of youth issues and confidence in their ability to mentor a young person outside of Raise.
To find out more about the impact the Raise youth mentoring programs has on young people click here to read our latest Evaluation Report: Submissions & reports