Male mentors needed

PARTNERS: Kirsty Gregory and Jorja Traeger, one of the two students she mentors at Kimba Area School.
PARTNERS: Kirsty Gregory and Jorja Traeger, one of the two students she mentors at Kimba Area School.

Kimba Area School is getting the community involved in educating local students through a community mentoring program.

The program is run at a number of schools across the Eyre Peninsula, partnering local volunteers with students to give them one-on-one time with a trusted adult.

Kirsty Gregory has been mentoring now year 5 student Jorja Traeger for three years and enjoys being part of the program so much she has since taken on another student from year 2.

She said while she enjoyed the opportunity to form a friendship with her mentees through fun activities and excursions, the program also provided students with someone to turn to, an opportunity she said she would have appreciated during challenging times through her schooling life.

"If I had someone I could have gone to... it would've been fantastic," she said.

Volunteer mentors are matched with a student from any year level that teachers and the school's wellbeing coordinator believe they would benefit most.

Mentors receive training for the program, then visit weekly, where possible, to work with students on a variety of activities they are passionate about such as arts and crafts and even constructing a small garden at the school.

The school has a small group of mentors and is always looking for new volunteers, with an emphasis on providing more male role models for the students.

"I would love to see more males involved," Mrs Gregory said.

She said there were already some men from the community who had volunteered and were forming positive bonds with their mentees.

"The school is very female based and it's good to see the males around," she said.

Mrs Gregory said it was "very fulfilling" to see the students' confidence grow over the time they spent together.

"It takes a while to form a little bond but once it does it's so worthwhile.

"I really believe it should be in every school."

She said she encouraged anyone to sign up for the program.

"We have some amazing people in Kimba," she said.

"To be able to show our young kids what happens outside of the school is awesome... it could be huge in the long run."