Supporting those at risk of social isolationMay 1, 2017
A $30,000 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation allows OneCare Geelong to link volunteer mentors with those who are managing challenging life issues and circumstances for a minimum twelve month period. Mentor and mentee partnerships meet regularly to work towards goals identified by the mentee. Strong supportive relationships of respect, collaboration and accountability build a foundation toward independence.
Zahra (not her real name) is a young Afghani mother who has been living in Australia for two years. Early last year her daughter was the victim of a racist attack at the local park because she was wearing a headscarf. When Zahra first started with C.O.A.C.H. and placed with a mentor, she was scared of going out for fear of meeting one of the perpetrators. This had impacted her sense of security and limited her opportunities to practice English.
Almost ten months on, Zahra and her mentor go regularly to a favourite café where Zahra has grown in confidence to order the coffees. They share stories of each other’s life and consider different options as Zahra manages health complications, severe anxiety and potential work opportunities. Zahra’s mentor loves reading and she brings along books for Zahra to practice. She loves learning and the opportunity she has in Australia. When her daughter was attacked, Zahra was so impressed by the police that she would like to join the police force one day. These steps are part of the journey toward that dream.
COACH has assisted over 50 families in the Geelong region. It is support that offers deep engagement over a long period of time. Authentic relationship changes the course of individual’s lives.