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Community mentoring – providing support and hope

April 2, 2019

Readjusting your life after surviving family and domestic violence can be an incredibly challenging experience.   Often this means creating a new family structure; sometimes it means relocating to a new suburb or city to start fresh and sometimes you can feel isolated.

For Peta, a mother of two, this was her experiences after leaving behind her family home and her support networks when she had to flee to safety.

She found she was struggling to get on her feet as a solo parent. Her eldest daughter was particularly traumatised by her exposure to family violence and was unable to regularly attend mainstream school.

Peta was referred to OneCare Geelong’s C.O.A.C.H Community Mentoring Program and introduced to Jill, a highly trained volunteer mentor. C.O.A.C.H (Creating Opportunities and Casting Hope) is described as ‘friendship with a purpose’.

With thanks to your donations, OneCare Geelong received a $10,000 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation to connect people at risk of disadvantage and social isolation with targeted support by a community mentor through the C.O.A.C.H program.

Jill aims to support Peta in developing a new social network and self-care strategies so that she can begin to flourish in her new life.

Most weeks the pair meet for about an hour over morning tea. Since last October, Jill has already noticed an incredible change in Peta. Success for Peta includes supporting her elder daughter to return to school, and settling her younger daughter into Prep.

“I love making a difference in someone else’s life. I get way more out of mentoring Peta than she gets from me. Spending time with someone and seeing them grow in confidence is priceless.” says Jill.

In 2018 two-thirds of new referrals to C.O.A.C.H. had included a background of family violence. Your donations have enabled OneCare Geelong to undertake 24 new referrals, graduate 8 participants, train and approve 9 new mentors, provide ongoing support to 20 mentors, and end 2018 with 14 active mentoring relationships.