Do you remember when you started feeling that way, when it started feeling

more casual?

A month or two in it became more casual. I guess initially he was a lot more

reserved – but now it’s just open conversation, not necessarily about anything

that might be deep and meaningful -sometimes it can be– but it’s mostly free

conversation about whatever.

How did you find the process of applying and being screened?

Initially I would have said it was long, but it’s necessary. All of the stuff TRY covers

is very, very important – you want to be matched to somebody who is similar to

you, and who you’re going to be able to bring the best out of.

What’s been the most challenging part of being a mentor?

Probably when James was having a difficult time emotionally [after the loss

of a few family members] - because I was worried about his wellbeing.

My challenge was that I needed to be more vigilant and be more aware about

the things that he says, or might be doing differently, and I always kept an open

communication with his mum and my coordinator. That wasn’t a particular

challenge for me, but I wanted to make sure that if there was an issue I wanted it

to be well handled.

What’s been the most rewarding?

There’s been so many! For me, I get a lot of happiness out of being there for him

and creating this relationship with him, and him knowing what to expect from a

relationship with stability. It’s been amazing seeing him grow as a young man. It’s

really incredible – he’s become a really emotionally aware, understanding and

compassionate person. Recently, we were talking about Adam Goodes, whose

name came on the radio, and he made the comment that “people don’t think

about the consequences of their actions” which is a very big thing for an 11 year

old to be saying! It amazes me sometimes, his level of understanding of other


*name changed for privacy.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing him achieve in athletics and sport

at school, and recently watching him perform in his school

play was really special for me. He’s growing as a young

man, and that’s been really special to watch. I like to think,

to some extent, that I’ve played a part in that.

Did you ever think that you would have such a bond

with this young person?

No! From the start, I had absolutely no idea. In a way,

I went in with selfish motivations – thinking more about my

course – but now I think about the benefit for me, which is

seeing the benefits that he’s getting. I want to see him

succeed, be happy and enjoy his life, and that’s what makes

it so special for me. Above all, I’ve been able to develop a

friendship with him. It’s not something that will stop – it

will continue on. I would never have thought I would be

able to have such a genuine friendship with him.

What’s the best catch-up that you’ve had?

The play was really awesome for me. That was one of the

most special moments I’ve had with him – having him wave

at me from the stage when he saw me in the audience, was

just amazing. Taking him to his first footy game was really

fun too.

What would you say to someone who wants to get involved

in mentoring, but is hesitant to jump in?

Based on my experience of it, showing a young person that

you’re interested in them, that you want to know about

them and want to spend time with them – can make the

world of a difference to them. I think that’s one of the most

incredible things. Him just looking forward to having that

catch-up every week is what motivates me.


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