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Mentors wanted…have an impact on the cycle

When I first walked into a “half-way house” for young people who had found themselves homeless for one reason or another, the first feeling I had was one of dread.  It was apparent that these kids were caught in an inevitable cycle of despair.  On speaking with a couple of the young people there, I soon realised that they had fallen between the cracks of certain services, despite our country’s abundance of welfare, health and education centres available.  Quite often from birth, these kids encounter a world quite different from the one most of us now take for granted.  Instead of living within society, they survivewithin the community.  Quite often this form of cultural survival leads to a myriad of outcomes, from depression leading to suicide, to drugs, crime and general destruction.  There are several things we all have in life that we can easily take in our stride.  Purpose.  Goals.  Income.  Security.  Family.  Health.  Education.  However, most importantly we have friends and positive role models.  What kept me from venturing down a possible path of destruction?  I had good, caring and forgiving people around me.  From my parents to sporting coaches, a simple kind gesture or word of wisdom was never too far away.  However the cycle of despair does exist.  It is around us no matter how hard we try to ignore it.  The easiest thing for us to do as a community is criticise those involved in crime, doing drugs, committing heinous acts that land them in prison and mark them as criminals forever.  We choose not to ask why this has happened, we are only concerned that it has happened.  We believe in penalties but not in prevention.  We judge before we understand, but most of all we ignore.  I can quite honestly say that the reason I am still alive today is because of key people in my life.  The loved ones around me keep me focused on being a better person and not the larrikin I once was.  Now I knew that I wanted to be a part of a cycle I had spent so long pretending was not part of my life.  I wanted to be available for kids, who like me chose to live on the edge.  The challenge of course is to not have to reinvent the wheel.  Heck, I haven’t got enough hours in the day to invent a wheel!  I already have a career, a growing family, community activities and my own commitments.  What was I thinking?  This literally is too big to change.  Or is it?  I started putting the word out that we should make a difference by creating a mentoring program for youth from different backgrounds.  What started as a mere thought, lead to a program already in existence.  Anglicare had a mentoring program in place for young offenders, quite often finding themselves in juvenile justice centres.  From there I discovered an education mentoring program for kids who were having difficulty learning or adjusting socially.  Before long I met the two women involved in these programs, Mary O’Neill and Laurinda Motion.  They too were passionate about breaking down barriers, combining efforts and creating a more encompassing program.  It has now lead to IGNITE mentoring.  The group I am involved in, Wagga Business NetworX also wanted to be a part of this mission.  Jeremy Hutchings came on board to focus on our goal of encouraging more mentors into the program.  Creative Place made up of Grant Higginson who is a video producer, Grant Harper a website developer, Brock Johnston their photographer and Chelsea Martin the Creative Place Graphic Designer then volunteered all of their services to assist with a logo and identity, a website and video content to help us get our message out to the community at large.  We are now very close to our launch date.  Jeremy and I have both been mentoring within the Justice program to understand exactly how we can help and the results have been amazing.  As the subtle image in our logo suggests, a pebble in water starts as a drop but the ripple effect is far wider reaching.  The kids we mentor are becoming independent and confident in themselves.  They are becoming leaders and even visionaries, for themselves and for others around them.  And now it is with great enthusiasm that I ask for your assistance.  No money is required and no time frame is in writing.  Your level of commitment comes down to your own desire for change.  All that is required is a couple of hours a week for a time to be determined.  It can be as little as a month to an entire year.  It’s up to you.  However, regardless of how much or how little time you can give, know this – it will make a difference.  Please call the following numbers today to find out more about our vision, our training and our program IGNITE.  Mary – 0439 221 401 or Laurinda – 0410 268 789.  Or if you would like to call me and ask anything at all – 0413 571 974.  Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post!  - Adam Drummond