IT’S a program run by young people for young people and it’s a positive for our indigenous community.
As many as 400 SCU students in Coffs Harbour have signed on to mentor indigenous high school students through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) Mentoring Program.
This is double the numbers of student mentors involved last year.
The program matches up university students and high school students for an hour a week over 17 weeks.
Through sessions focusing on interactivity and leadership, AIME’s goals are to improve Year 10 and Year 12 completion rates and university admission rates for all participating students.
Led by AIME’s North Coast program manager Clark Webb, Coffs Harbour is witnessing a shift in youth ownership of social issues.
“Southern Cross University has been willing to back this idea and has now given their students a chance to connect with something completely new that can potentially change indigenous engagement in Coffs Harbour forever,” Mr Webb said.
“The students are putting their hands up and saying ‘we can get this done’.”
The AIME Mentoring Program has had strong support from Professor Jenny Graham, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Dr Rosie Wickert, head of the Coffs Harbour campus.
SCU 2009 student and AIME mentor Alex Bruggisser said being involved with the program was inspiring.
“The positive changes that you’re helping kids make to their lives are obvious,” he said.
“It’s been working as an AIME mentor at SCU that I’ve figured out exactly what I love doing.”
Andrew Mansini, deputy principal of Orara High School, has endorsed AIME’s presence in the region. “There is a change happening with the indigenous students here at Orara High and AIME has certainly been part of that,” he said.