Mentoring is a relationship intervention strategy that research is showing can have powerful and lasting postive impacts on behavioural, academic and vocational outcomes for youth at risk.
Many reports have shown that mentoring is an important tool for the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and that it directly engages young Indigenous people in ways more mainstream methods fail. Mentors within sporting programs are a means to attract young people to participate, to maintain their participation and to encourage future aspirations. The generalised role of mentoring is to strengthen and maintain the positive benefits of a program, whilst providing role modelling and support to young people in the process of leading healthy and productive lives.
These benefits are protective factors that encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to choose productive life pathways.
Where rates of educational achievement are low and unemployment is high amongst adults, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people may feel that expectations on them are low, and may lack initiative to succeed and to complete year 12 or pursue post-school qualifications.
Within this context NASCA utilises mentoring to provide a positive alternative to what may at times be perceived as a predetermined path in life. It also encourages positive relationships and allows the individual to feel supported. Mentors also provide emotional support, encouragement and advocate for the development of goals and aspirations. NASCA mentors directly encourage engagement or re-engagement with school, healthy lifestyles and in turn this is more likely to prevent ‘anti-social behaviour’.
An essential part of NASCA’s strategy is that positive improvements are reinforced through formal recognition or success. Young people who have previously seen themselves as low achievers gain confidence, which then extends to other areas of their life. Our mentoring is also ongoing, consistent, engaging and regular.
NASCA utilises a combination of Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors and staff across all of our program streams. In order to remain successful, NASCA’S mentoring programs involve local community and parents and are long term, respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.