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Dominique’s positive relationship with her mentor continued to grow this year, despite COVID moving their sessions online

Nine year old Dominque moved in to live with her grandparents two years ago following her dad’s incarceration. While she was able to make friends at her new primary school, she appeared to be struggling after having so many big life changes happen at the same time, dad’s incarceration, the move, and then the advent of the pandemic. Her grandmother and teacher noted that she was slowly falling behind in class and she was also finding it difficult to talk about her father. In March this year, SHINE For Kids was contacted by her school and Dominique started the RISE education program where she was matched with her mentor Anastasia.

Dominique and Anastasia managed to have their first sessions together in person where they connected over their shared love of art and animals (horses in particular), before Victoria was placed into lockdown again. Despite this set back, Dominique and Anastasia continued their mentoring sessions and developed their relationship through Zoom.

Over the past year, Dominque has slowly opened up to Anastasia and started talking about her relationship with her father. A testament to the bond they developed happened a week before Father’s Day when Dominique opened up to Anastasia about how nervous she was feeling going into the weekend as she was going to have her first video call with dad since the start of the year. It had been so long since they had spoken and she was worried that she wouldn’t know what to say or do during the visit and that it would be strange looking at each other on a screen.

Anastasia listened to her concerns and together they made dad a special Father’s Day card and came up with a plan for things Dominique could talk about (her friends, how school was going, the book she was reading in class, her neighbour’s puppy that always snuck under their fence) and they also devised some games they could play during the visit.

While there have been a few bumps along the road with Dominique’s relationship with her dad this year, her grandmother is pleased to report that she is showing a lot more confidence and energy since her mentoring sessions began. Dominique’s grandmother expressed how grateful the family is for Anastasia’s support.

With the lockdown in Victoria ending and primary schools reopening, Anastasia and Dominique are looking forward to having their sessions in person again and have already started discussing artwork and activities that they can work on and create together to send to dad for Christmas.

Dominique’s positive relationship with her mentor continued to grow this year, despite COVID moving their sessions online

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