For the last 11 years, LYF has been supporting at-risk young people in Perth through a long-term one-on-one mentoring and large group activities program. LYF aims to make a positive difference in the community, made possible thanks to our dedicated volunteers and vital community partners and sponsors.
LYF teens face very real challenges and disadvantages.
Regardless of their background, when they are a part of LYF, they are just teenagers with a whole life ahead of them.
We pair each teen one-on-one with a mentor to be their trusted friend and guide for at least one year, but ideally for the duration of the program (being up to 4 years). Our mentors are volunteers from various backgrounds and are young adults (aged 22 – 39), so that they are reasonably close to the age of our participants.
Together each pair shares new experiences and opportunities at five LYF events per year (and smaller catch ups in between) to grow confidence and self-worth in a supportive and safe environment. It’s amazing what someone can achieve when another person believes in them and when they believe in themselves, and we see this time and time again through our program.
In addition to our events, mentors have the option and are encouraged to initiate and maintain phone and email contact with their teen, and spend time on the weekend in a smaller group setting (called Small Group Activities), to further develop the mentoring relationship. This is optional and is driven by each individual mentor.
A key focus of LYF is to ensure this contact is as beneficial as possible while staying within set boundaries for the protection of the mentors and teens, and as such we have strict policies and procedures in place that mentors must follow when making contact with their teen.
A WEEKEND CAMP IN MARCH
LYF Camp is integral to the success of our program as it provides a safe place for the teen and mentor relationship to nurture and grow over a series of days. We also introduce our teens to the four key LYF skills through activities designed to harbour each component: think about your future, identify your values, make positive decisions, and know your strengths.
FOUR ‘BIG DAYS OUT’
Four big day out (BDO) development days follow camp and are spread across the year.
BDO’s encompass are structured to have half a day of development rotations based around our four key LYF skills, and the other half dedicated to challenging our teens with fun, new experiences. We also partner with community organisations such as Headspace, to introduce our teens to services they can access at any time.
See our wrap-up documents from some previous BDOs:
We encourage our mentors to engage in smaller group activities that are of personal interest to the teens between LYF events including trips to sports games, career fairs, and cultural events, particularly around school holidays. Each teen and mentor can also access funding from LYF to pursue targeted events, and they are encouraged to take teens on activities that align with their interests and future career aspirations, and often assist teens with applying for their first jobs.
YOUTH COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
During camp, eight Year 10 teens are elected by their peers to form a leadership group called Youth Committee who plan, organise and run the last BDO of the year. They engage in leadership and public speaking sessions at least four times throughout the year, and get exposure to activities such as project management and budgeting. Youth Committee members also open each BDO with an acknowledgment to country. This program never fails to grow their confidence and inspire the others.