On a glorious winter’s day, twelve local Year 9 students recently had the opportunity to view Benalla from high up in the front seat of a glider. The glider flight was the culmination of a series of activities undertaken by the students as part of the Connect9 mentoring program.
Connect9 individually matches students in Year 9 with a well-connected local volunteer who gives their time to support the young person to learn new skills, try a new sport or hobby, investigate career options and build their local connections. Research shows that young people benefit when they feel supported by a mentor – they feel more part of their community and are more likely to continue with their education.
Following their glider flights, the Connect9 participants, their mentors, families and friends celebrated the completion of the ten week program with a barbecue lunch and presentation ceremony at the Benalla Gliding Club.
Executive Officer of Tomorrow Today, Pat Claridge commended the students for committing to the program. “It takes courage to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, so well done to you all. Thanks also to your families for supporting you to take part and making sure you got to all the activities” she said. Ms Claridge made special mention of the mentors who give so freely of their time, talents and expertise to support youth in our community. “You are making a positive difference in the lives of Benalla’s young people.’
Ms Claridge also thanked the many partners who assist with the program, Benalla P-12 College, FCJ College, Benalla YMCA, Benalla Library and Friends of the Library, Benalla Gliding Club as well as many other local clubs and sporting groups who offer ‘try out’ sessions for the young people.
Developed and run by Tomorrow Today Foundation as part of the Education Benalla Program, this was the eighth Connect9 program since its commencemnet in 2011.
Anyone interested in becoming a Connect9 mentor can contact Cathy Hair, Student Wellbeing Coordinator at Tomorrow Today Foundation on 5762 1211.