Sally Close: Volunteer Experience
In 2018, I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer as I wanted to be more connected to community. I wanted to give back and to share my career experience to help another person.
My son is dyslexic and requires adjustments to the standard school curriculum to enable him to learn effectively. He is bright, funny, creative and full of passion. He is currently in primary school and with the collective support of teachers, family and his specialist tutor, he is progressing, learning and thriving. Without an adjusted program and his support network, I would very much fear for his mental health and ability to learn.
When I came across IMVC, I was impressed to learn of an organisation enabling youth to complete their studies inclusive of individual adjustments. I was pleased to know that there were passionate dedicated staff that worked alongside parents and students to assist and support them to not only complete higher study but to also transition into working life. I wanted to be part of that program and support such a needed community initiative.
I sent off my Expression Of Interest to volunteer as a mentor for the Youth2Industry program. Over a period of three months, I had the opportunity to get to know my mentee (Karl). We spent time discussing; my career and life experiences, my mentee’s longer term career goals and ideas, and we looked deeper into prospects for future employment.
During the sessions we worked through a structured plan to assist in developing job search skills, resume writing, applications for work. In preparation for their work placement which is part of the program; we discussed working life, employer expectations, teamwork, general work etiquette and their own expectations of work.
I supported my mentee through the process inline with the program guides to ensure they were ready for their first day of work placement. With only a few hours each time we met, much was achieved and my mentee progressed.
As the program came to an end I was both surprised and sad.
It is surprising how just a few hours can make a difference, and how the feeling of contentedness is so real and so rewarding.
As such I was sad that the program was ending and wasn’t 100% sure we would still stay in touch, as it is not part of the program requirement to do so and not an exception for either party.
I very much enjoyed the final presentation lunch and the speeches that mentee’s shared of their achievements and experience on the program.
Since then, with continued support from IMVC, my mentee has gone onto continue further study through a TAFE course, and has also secured a trainee ship in the career-path that we mapped out together. A plan on a page – a drawing, which came to be their real life. What a fabulous outcome.
We have continued to stay in touch, we are not best mates, we are not super close, but we are connected – and that is all it takes to be a mentor. To be available, to show a genuine interest, to share your life experiences, and to authentically care about another person.
As 2019 program commences in a few short weeks, I’m eager to meet my new mentee, and cant wait to begin another “youth encounter” as I call it. I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering as a mentor for the youth to industry program – as it has been a meaningful and rewarding experience.
– Sally Close, 2018 Youth2Industry Mentor