Mentoring Program for Kids with Disabilities

Emma O’Donoghue (14) and her mentor Sheldon Hayes (25), matched in the YMentoring service, took part in a  Pizza and Cupcake Night at Parmelia Hilton Perth.
Emma O’Donoghue (14) and her mentor Sheldon Hayes (25), matched in the YMentoring service, took part in a Pizza and Cupcake Night at Parmelia Hilton Perth.

A MENTORING program is being offered for young people with disability living in the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup.

YMCA WA and the Disability Services Commission (DSC) have joined forces for the 12-month pilot program, starting this month.

Adult volunteers are now being sought for the program to mentor youth aged seven to 20.

Mentoring manager Tim Galloway said caring and supportive people were needed to meet the young people weekly for social and recreational activities that helped improve their self-esteem and confidence.

Mr Galloway said the program was an exciting addition to their existing YMentoring service. “It opens the door to huge positive outcomes for young people with disability,” he said.

“Small goals set in mentoring partnerships, such as learning road rules or how to catch public transport, assist the young person to engage more fully with their community in both the short and long-term.”

Young people are referred to the program after their interest has been identified in their work with DSC local area co-ordinators (LACs).

“The young people with disability work with LACs to identify and set goals before they start their mentoring relationship, then work with their mentors to achieve these aspirations,” Mr Galloway said.

The program will initially provide mentoring support for 12 people in the Joondalup and Wanneroo area, but aims to increase local participation and offer the program in other areas.

YMentoring volunteer Erika Everitt, of Marangaroo, said she didn’t expect to learn as much from her role as a mentor as she did. “I didn’t expect such a fun and natural friendship to form so quickly… and I didn’t expect to laugh as much and have as much fun as I did,” she said.

“Having a friendship with a young person has made me happier and more easygoing.”

For more information, call 9227 0479.