The season of graduation celebrations at Raise is both heart-warming and mind-blowing.
We kicked off our 87 graduations across Australia with two in Brisbane on Tuesday this week, and it was plainly evident that our mentees have come such a long way since they joined the program back in March. A big congratulations to our brilliant Program Counsellors who have delivered these programs so remarkably well.
When mentees stood alongside their mentors to accept their graduation certificates, we could see clearly and hear confidently that they are feeling stronger to face their challenges, better equipped to achieve their goals and engage with school, and more connected with people who can support them, so that they are more likely to ask for help.
Mentees spoke about having more hope, feeling more supported, enjoying the time to just be themselves, and seeing more opportunity in their future.
One of the mentees said he ‘loves coming to meet my mentor after maths every Tuesday, as seeing her was like a relief, she has such a contagious smile that always makes me smile too.’
Mentors spoke about having more gratitude for an opportunity to give back, and feeling more connected to their community. The notion of the Raise village was incredibly evident in these 2 programs where we saw fabulous examples of thriving communities – like the mentor who saw a Raise presentation at the MYOB conference in Melbourne last November and then decided to volunteer when she got home to Brisbane; like the mentor who is the Mum of one of our wonderful Program Counsellors; like the mentor who has volunteered for four years in both our Bump and our School programs across Brisbane. The group was particularly inspired by the mentor who spoke about ‘really having something to offer, that her wheelchair doesn’t matter and that what she can’t do physically she can make up for intellectually by meeting her mentee where she is at.’
The connections between these mentees and mentors was remarkable, and the difference that our mentors have made was so obvious. Our hope is that these mentors come back to volunteer in the Raise village again next year and that many more new volunteers join the Raise village, so that we can offer this same experience to 1,500 more young people in 2020.