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MacKillop launches new programs to build connection, and improve health, for young people

Finding the right role model can be tricky for any young person, but it can be even more difficult to find the right person to connect with when you are in foster care. MacKillop Family Services is therefore piloting a volunteer mentor program in South West Victoria to connect children and young people under the age of 18 with mentors who will engage them through similar hobbies, interests or job skills.

This can include taking the child or young person to their local football game or sports training, upskilling job seekers and giving them tips in their industry or including young people in activities shared through a mutual hobby.
Cameron Burgess, MacKillop’s local Area Manager, believes the program will be tremendously beneficial for young people in the area.

“One of the great strengths of our community is our willingness to rally around those in need, particularly those who have experienced adversity. A little bit of help and encouragement from the broader community can have a tremendous impact on young people in care and help them to achieve their potential.

“Our hope is that through this program we can create more opportunities for people to support our local kids by contributing a few hours of their time each fortnight.”

Mentors will be appropriately matched to children based upon mutual skills or hobbies. Mentors and mentees will meet at least fortnightly in the community, either after school or on a weekend.

If you are interested in providing mentorship to children living in foster care, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Michael Hoffman on 03 5500 2000, or click here to read more about the program and enquire online.
Read more about this story, here.

In further program news, as part of the new HEALing Matters initiative, Mackillop Family Services’ Barwon region has engaged a personal trainer to boost the fitness and activity levels of young people in care.

Healthy Eating Active Living Matters (HEALing Matters) is a program developed by the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, funded by the Victorian Government. The program aims to improve on not only the eating and physical activity habits, but also the wellbeing and life skills, of young people living in residential care.

Houses in the regions have recently started a weekly 45 minute feel good fitness session with the personal trainer. The fitness sessions were developed with input from the young people in care, who expressed interest in hiking, yoga, and circuit work.

Read more, here.

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