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Young people in juvenile justice work with mentors at Cobham

In 2022, SHINE for Kids in partnership with CONFIT, launched our mentoring program for young people in juvenile justice at Cobham Correctional Centre in Sydney.

While there have been challenges, we’re really proud of the progress the young people have made with their wonderful mentors.

The Correctional Centre staff were incredibly supportive of our team member Anne as she set up operations at Cobham.

She was able to attend case meetings and special events at the centre and feel part of the team there quickly.

Working alongside CONFIT has been energising, Anne says you can feel the ‘dynamic in the room shift’ when they enter the centre as the young people are so receptive to their work.

CONFIT and SHINE for Kids have set up a variety of programs for young people in juvenile justice at the centre including mentoring, mindset training, sports workshops and personal training sessions to equip the young people with the skills and intention they need to turn their life trajectory around.

The ultimate aim is to reduce recidivism by helping to set young people up for success when they are released and support them in not making the same decisions again that led them to juvenile justice.

Throughout the year there were many opportunities for young people to participate in sessions, be they mentoring, a football competition, or group workshops.

We had a lot of interest from young people wishing to be matched with a SHINE for Kids mentor.

While a worldwide volunteer shortage coming out of COVID has made it difficult to recruit mentors; with some work, we now have three highly skilled and passionate mentors matched to three young people.

All three mentors have a background in law, justice or social policy and are absolutely committed to improving outcomes for their mentees.

Together the three matched pairs have been working on similar goals.

Our mentors have been providing practical support such as helping the young people to enrol in higher education, one of the young people has started a Business Degree, another is interested in pursuing a Sports Management career, and assisting with paperwork and life administration so that when they are released, the young people are ready to pursue work and study.

Emotional support is also offered, with friendships and trusting relationships forming allowing for more in-depth discussions of the issues the young people have faced and the state of their mental health, and discussing strategies for staying motivated and focussed on their goals.

With the year coming to an end, Anne says it’s been incredibly rewarding working with the young people in juvenile justice and matching them all with the right mentor to best support them and build a rapport with.

“I have loved working with the young people and seeing them really happy when their mentor comes in.

“One of the guys had really low motivation and didn’t want to do anything, but after a few sessions, he had a completely changed attitude and smiled whenever he has a session coming up.

“He had never had a visitor before starting the mentoring program, so having someone coming in just for him is a new and positive experience.”

Young people in juvenile justice work with mentors at Cobham

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