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2024 is looking very different, in a very good way, for student Mary

It’s been a whirlwind start to the year for 15-year-old Mary*.

With the support of her mentor, she’s gained training and a part-time job, and best of all, she has decided to pursue her studies and complete years 11 and 12 of school after what was a very unsettled period in her life.

How it started

When we first met Mary, she was referred to us by her Indie high school. The school is more flexible than most; however, despite this, Mary was still struggling to attend regularly and engage with peers and teachers.

The less time she spent in school, the more time she spent on the streets and was at increasing risk of getting into serious trouble or dangerous behaviour.

Her disillusion with institutions and lack of clarity about her future, possibly due to an unsettled home life with family members caught in the justice system, meant her behaviour was becoming a real barrier to her education, even though she is, as her mentor says, “a very bright student.”

When Mary started sessions with her mentor, she gave it her all and gratefully accepted the support. Her mentor and Mary talked about her goals, mental health support, and what kind of job she might like to have one day.

Bit by bit, Mary started to imagine a more positive future than she had been and really channelled her efforts into achieving small, attainable goals.

She wasn’t alone throughout this process; her mentor and school put a plan in place, with Mary’s contribution, and each session started with a check-in and discussion of the following steps that needed to be taken so that she could begin to find success at school again.

How it’s going!

With this support, Mary’s behaviour improved markedly at school.

By the end of the year, she was attending school every day, completing all of her assessments, and even starting to enjoy being there.

This year, Mary and her mentor celebrated her enrollment in a certificate program in Community Services, and she started sessions with a tutor.

She’s finding this focus on building her future employment options reassuring, and it’s a testament to her hard work that while studying at school and getting her certificate, she’s also managed to find a part-time job, which is now being offered to her as a school-based apprenticeship.

Suffice it to say that her mentor is INCREDIBLY proud of how much she has achieved in a short time.

This shows that with just a little support, massive changes can be made to a young person’s life trajectory.

As Mary looks to the future this year, she’s working to enrol back into a mainstream school to complete years 11 and 12. She feels she’s ready, and her mother and mentor do too.

Good luck, Mary, and congratulations!


*Names changed to protect participant identities. 

Thank you to the Department of Home Affairs (Safer Communities) for supporting our mentoring program. 

Please donate today and support our programs for young people. 

2024 is looking very different, in a very good way, for student Mary

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