Up until eight months ago, Robbie* lacked the confidence to try new things and setting future goals felt too far out of his reach.
Now the Adelaide teenage soccer fan’s growing to-do list includes a professional sporting career, world travel, and simply having fun.
Robbie is part of AnglicareSA’s Mentoring Program – a community-based therapeutic model that provides a young person in care with an adult mentor to support them to develop life skills and focus on achieving specific goals.
Since joining the program, Robbie says: “I became more outgoing and braver in trying things that I hadn’t done before”.
Mentor Luke Liccione was matched with Robbie under the program in 2022.
Luke, who is a Youth Engagement and Wellbeing Practitioner, comes from a sporting background and knows firsthand the impact a good mentor can have on the life of a young person.
“This program is really young-person led,” Luke explains. “So, I really try and encourage Robbie to choose something each week that he would like to do that he’s either done in the past, or if there’s something that he would like to try, but he hasn’t had an opportunity to do so yet.
“We’ve done cooking, karting, soccer, basketball and he’s started asking questions about nutrition and health, so we’ve organised a few gym sessions.”
AnglicareSA is in need of more mentors like Luke to meet the growing demands of the program.
Judi Kammerman, AnglicareSA Senior Manager Operations, Family and Youth Services, said the mentor role involved spending three hours a week with a child or young person, creating activity plans, organising and facilitating activity sessions, and providing case notes.
“It’s a once-a-week commitment that can change the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable children and young people by supporting them to thrive and reach their personal goals,” she said.
Robbie says the experience has been transformative.
“The favourite thing I’ve probably done is karting, or the first week, getting to know Luke and knowing that it’s not just something that I’ll do for a couple of weeks and say no to, that it was something that we could do for a lot longer than I expected,” says Robbie.
Luke says the program has changed his life too.
“Seeing the person Robbie is now from when I first met him gives me a lot of pride and joy.”
The AnglicareSA Mentoring Program is run with the support of the Department for Education and the Department for Child Protection across metropolitan Adelaide and surrounding areas, including the Barossa Valley and Victor Harbor.
Community service mentors are paid for their time and undergo a screening and recruitment process, including a Working With Children Check and National Police Check, in order to work with children and young people.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor and having a positive impact on the life of a young person in care, please contact AnglicareSA via [email protected]. Alternatively, visit this link to apply.
*Robbie’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.