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Mentoring. Allison Trethowan Mentoring Coordinator. A better way of supporting young people through the leaving care process. Vision Statement. “ To reconnect disadvantaged young people with the community so that they can live positive and meaningful lives ”.

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Allison Trethowan

Mentoring Coordinator

A better way of supporting young people through the leaving care process


Vision Statement

“To reconnect disadvantaged young people with the community so that they can live positive and meaningful lives”


Whitelion Overview – Founded in 1999

Glenn MantonCo-Founder of Whitelion, media personality and former AFL footballer

John Turner

Chairman of the Board of Whitelion, Account Director, Career Management Specialist

Mark Watt Co-Founder and CEO of Whitelion

Whitelion programs

Participant Pathway (From Positive Life Experience to Behaviour Change)

Sports Role Model

Young Lions





Whitelion programs


  • Department of Human Services (leaving care programs)

  • DEEWR– Youth Justice Programs

  • Corporate Partners

  • Corporate Fundraising

  • Donations

  • Various Grants

Mentoring programs
Mentoring Programs

  • Leaving Care – 4 Programs - North West Metro Melbourne, Barwon, Gippsland and now Bendigo

  • Community Youth Justice – Northern Metro Melbourne

  • Custodial – Melbourne Youth Justice Centre

Mentoring programs1
Mentoring Programs

  • Ramp – residential care in Eastern Melbourne

  • Ansaar – Culturally specific program for young Muslim people in Northern Metro Melbourne


What is Mentoring?

  • Role playing

  • Role modeling

  • Skill sharing

  • Supporting

  • Coaching

  • Sharing

  • ‘Just being’ together


Mentoring is simply defined as:

“A mutually beneficial relationship which involves a more experienced person helping a less experienced person to achieve their goals”

  • ADRT Consultants, for the NSW Dept of Youth Justice 2001

Who was your mentor
Who was your Mentor?

Spend some time now thinking about your mentor/s…….

  • Who would they be?

  • What makes them significant as a mentor?

  • What did they do with you or for you that stands out?

Key concepts
Key Concepts

  • One to One mentoring for a young person

  • Organic and specific matching

  • Group activities – community days

  • Camps

  • Special opportunities

  • Matches supported for at least a year. Once graduated, aiming for friendships to last a lifetime

Key concepts1

Participant Pathway (From Positive Life Experience to Behaviour Change)

Sports Role Model

Young Lions





Key Concepts

  • Pathways through Whitelion and a hub of support services

Graduated matches
Graduated Matches

  • Successful matches graduate into ongoing friendships independent of Whitelion

  • Currently developing a book to document some of the wonderful long term matches who have come through the programs.

  • Please let me know if you would like one!

Evaluation of outcomes for young people
Evaluation of outcomes for young people

  • Evaluation covers 48 participants surveyed in the Evaluation Pilot conducted over 2006 – 2007

  • The majority of the surveyed participants were male (65%)

  • 85% of the surveyed participants were aged > 16 years

Evaluation participants
Evaluation participants

  • The population comes from highly challenging backgrounds:

    31% - In custody / in care/ public housing / homeless

    48% - JJ history

    52% - Child protection history

    31% - Mental health issues

    31% - Drug / alcohol issues

Issues faced
Issues faced

  • Pregnancy and Parenting at a young age

  • Access to stable, affordable, appropriate housing

  • Lack of independent living skills

  • Unemployment and limited education

  • Disability and mental health

  • Substance misuse

  • History of trauma, often cumulative

Evaluation results
Evaluation results

  • Just under 75% of the population identify a significant change over the last 12 - 6 months. Changes accrued in these areas:

    • personal wellbeing,

    • social network development

    • life change factors including reduced drug use, non-recidivism, school

      retention, training and employment

Evaluation results1
Evaluation results

  • Approximately 50% of those participants identify the support provided by Whitelion as being of high to very high importance in that change.

Evaluation results2
Evaluation results

  • Through young people’s journey with Whitelion they identified that while their life challenge fluctuated in degree of difficulty their ability to manage increased over time (94%).


Mentoring can…

- Reduce offending

- Reduce substance misuse and other risky behaviours

  • Increase participation in education, training and employment

    -Improve self esteem, social/communication skills and personal relationships

Case study steve
Case Study - Steve


  • In and out of the care system from age 10

  • Exposed to domestic violence at home

  • Had begun to become involved with the Youth Justice System

  • Had substance use issues and was fearful of groups and crowds

Case study steve1
Case study – Steve

2005 cont…

  • Had no aims, goals or dreams for his future

  • Nominated to Whitelion Mentoring in 2005 by his case manager

  • Matched with his mentor Justin in 2005

Case study steve2
Case Study - Steve


  • Developing friendship with Justin

  • Nominated to the Whitelion Employment Program in 2006. Trialled work.

  • ‘Tasters’ of work opportunities with Justin

Case study steve3
Case Study - Steve


  • Employed at Qenos, an employment partner of the Whitelion Employment Program

  • Support from workplace buddies Ray and Martin

Case study steve4
Case Study - Steve

2007 cont…

  • Steve moved into independent living with his partner Demi

  • Justin and his partner Kate role model to Steve and Demi a loving and respectful relationship, as an alternative Steve’s experiences of his own parents violent relationship

Case study steve5
Case Study - Steve

2007 cont…

  • Steve became a father

  • Justin’s partner Kate informally Mentors Steve’s partner Demi, supporting her in her parenting

Case study steve6
Case Study - Steve

2007 cont…

  • Match graduated from the Mentoring Program into a friendship on their own terms in November 2007

Case study steve7
Case Study - Steve


  • Steve is working full time at John Beever Australia PTY LTD, supported by the Whitelion Employment Program

  • Undertaking a trade apprenticeship as a fitter and turner

  • Recently spoke to a large audience at a Business Lunch for Whitelion

Case study steve8
Case Study - Steve

2008 cont….

  • Steve and Justin still catch up regularly by phone and in person

  • Steve’s son is now 1 year old and is beautiful!

In steve s words
In Steve’s words….

“Justin is awesome. He has given me faith in myself and hopes for the future. I thought I would be nothing. Now I want to work hard for my family and hope to buy a house and have a great life. I would do anything for him!”

What young people say
What young people say

  • “My mentor guides me in making my own choices”

  • “I get thought of here. People ring me to see how I am”

  • “My mentor has shown me how other people live, outside my normal group”

What young people say1
What young people say

  • “I talk with my mentor about how I behave and she helps me see the results of my behaviour and helps me change it”

  • “I can speak up for myself at work now”

  • “I feel part of something”


To the world,

you might be one person.

But to one person,

you can be the world.