From the simple act of one individual feeling compelled to mentor for Raise, there is now a burgeoning partnership, benefitting many young people in the local community.
It was a typical Friday about 3 years ago when I drove into work and noticed out of the corner of my eye something was out of the ordinary.
I work in operations at Sydney Airport and am often a first responder in a variety of situations. On this particular Friday, I made the tragic discovery that a young person had taken their life. For the remainder of the day, I felt completely numb. I couldn’t understand why young people didn’t have the tools they needed to ask for help.
The next morning, I went to my colleague’s citizenship ceremony where the Mosman Citizen of the Year award was presented to Vicki Condon, Raise’s Founder and CEO.
Vicki began talking about suicide being the leading cause of death among young Australians. She shared an analogy about a river and the importance of going upstream to intervene earlier. After the ceremony I got into a taxi, googled Raise, and had signed up to mentor before I got home.
I was interviewed that Monday and placed in mentor training. It was an amazing experience, not only did I learn heaps, but I also met other like-minded people from other organisations, with a desire to make a difference.
I was matched with a young boy at a school in a nearby community and whilst it took time for my mentee to open up, when he did, I found I was really able to be that consistent, trusted adult that he needed. My mentee was carrying a whole heap on his shoulders and he shared details about his home life that he said he just couldn’t tell anyone else, not even his friends.
During my second year of mentoring, a colleague joined me on the journey. It sparked a lot of conversation internally and the commitment we could make as an organisation. In my third year, Sydney Airport formed a partnership with Raise and a group of staff were given an opportunity to put their hand up. I was proud to go in as a team.
When I think about the difference a mentor makes, I feel really privileged to be there for a young person who is having a tough time. Raise’s youth mentoring program is very special to me. I also really value the opportunity to play an active part in the community.
Supporting one young person and helping them develop the tools they need to ask for help makes a real difference.
A story that starts in tragedy for one young man has undoubtedly turned into a purposeful journey helping Australian youth build a brighter future.
From everyone at Raise we are so proud to be Sydney Airport’s partner and very grateful for all your support.