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Kicking goals in the volunteer mentor program

Volunteering brings people together and at MacKillop, we are privileged to have dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers that make a difference to young lives.

This Volunteers Week, we celebrate Matt, one of our many volunteers that is changing our communities for the better.

Upon hearing on the local radio that volunteer mentors were needed in his area, Matt recognised that he had an idyllic upbringing and that there were others in his community that weren’t as lucky.

“What motivated me to become a volunteer mentor was the opportunity to help show a different way of life to those less fortunate,” explains Matt.

An original member of the volunteer mentor pilot program in 2019, linking young people in care to positive and supportive role models, Matt recently connected with a new young person through a mutual interest.

“Sport has been a big part of my life and I’ve always enjoyed it, and this was similar with the young person I was paired with. He’s a lively and active character. We just started kicking the footy around and playing soccer, and we hit it off instantly.

“By our third outing, I could already start to feel that a level of trust had been established, even just by the way he greeted me that day.

“He’s been asking when we get to see each other again, and it’s a nice feeling. It’s not just comforting to know that our connections make a difference to young people, it also makes us feel pretty good as well.”

With a young family of his own and a Dairy Farm in Panmure to manage, Matt is inspired and motivated to stay involved with the program through the small but significant connections he can make with his time.

A small piece of my time may make a difference to someone’s life.

– Matt

“I give my own kids a lot of time and love, and I know my kids are well supported, and I’d love for another kid to have that opportunity as well.

“The idea of knowing that there is someone in their life that wants to connect with them because they want to and are not being paid to, is pretty important I think. Hopefully he finds some part of me that’s good, and if that positive influence encourages him in his life, then it’s all worth it.”

For vulnerable children and young people, having a trusted and consistent adult in their lives is important; this is a fundamental aspect the volunteer mentor program provides to support young people as they go through challenging life transitions.

Matt adds; “I’d just love to see the volunteer mentor program broaden because there are lots of good people willing to give their time.”

“You don’t have to do anything extra special all the time, you just have to show them that there are good people in the world and there’s a good way to do life.

“The opportunity to provide good communities and positive interactions they can draw on later in life, will hopefully help them make positive steps throughout their lives.”

Find out more about volunteering opportunities at MacKillop below.