RSL (NSW), SOLDIER ON and SHINE for Kids combine forces in a new mentoring program for young people

The Returned Services League (NSW) and Soldier On are working with the veterans’ community to recruit volunteer mentors for a mentoring program managed by SHINE for Kids. The program builds on the proven success of ‘Stand As One’ which has been conducted by SHINE for Kids at the Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre since 2010.

Funded by the NSW Department of Justice and operating in Western Sydney and the Mid North Coast, the NSW Government’s Veterans Young Offender Mentoring Program will help:

  • young people under the supervision of Juvenile Justice in the community
  • young people transitioning into the community from custody and
  • young people exiting from Juvenile Justice supervision.

The new program delivers services in a culturally respectful way, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families; and young people and their families from Culturally and Linguistic Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

What does becoming a mentor involve?

Mentoring is the one-on-one relationship between a Mentor and a Mentee. The Mentor supports and guides a young person affected by the criminal justice system. They provide non-judgmental and respectful social support to enable decisions that will create positive opportunities and ultimately prevent recidivism. Mentors are also available, within reason, to receive any phone calls and/or text messages from the Mentee when spontaneous extra support is required.

Mentors are matched to a young person serving a custodial sentence at least 3 months before their release. The Mentor and Mentee meet fortnightly for around 3-4 hours and the period of support is expected to last 12 months. Young people serving community-based orders are also eligible to participate in the program.

Benefits of becoming a mentor

As a Veteran, your skills as a leader are sought after in the community. The Veterans Mentoring program for young offenders, provides a unique opportunity for you to pass on your life experiences to young people facing challenges, and build on your existing leadership skills.

Mentors from the RSL and Soldier On will be referred to SHINE for Kids for participation. Initial applications of interest can be submitted online to the RSL who will forward potential volunteers to SHINE for Kids for assessment and interview.

Otherwise, you can complete the online Expression of Interest Form here.

Benefits to the mentee

The Program aims to provide the following benefits to the Mentee:

  • Life skills that support positive life choices
  • Links to education and training
  • Pathways to sustainable employment
  • Connection to ongoing personal support networks
  • Engagement with community, family and services

For young people in custody, the relationship between mentor and mentee will begin at least 3 months prior to the young person being released from custody and contact will occur on a fortnightly basis. Upon release, the mentor will provide 1:1 support to the young person for a period of 12 months, participating in social outings and other activities tailored to meet the needs and interests of the young person.

For young people already in the community, the mentor will also provide 1:1 support to the young person for a period of 12 months participating in social outings and other activities tailored to meet the needs and interests of the young person.

All prospective mentors will be required to undertake the following:

  • Current NSW Working with Children Check
  • National Police Check
  • Interview with SHINE for Kids
  • Initial two-day training
  • Online Safeguarding Children Training

Get involved

Download the brochure HERE

Apply to be a volunteer mentor on the RSL website

Express your interest with SHINE for Kids here

Juvenile Justice NSW Department of Justice