The Pilbara Mentors Awards Night was held on Tuesday the 26 November at the Junction in Port Hedland. Kirsten Thompson was awarded the honor of being 2019 Pilbara Mentor of the Year.
The evening celebrated the outstanding efforts of the Pilbara Mentors Program, run by EdConnect Australia in partnership with the Roy Hill Community Foundation. Attendees included local community members who volunteer their time to be a Pilbara Mentor, Roy Hill Community Foundation members, local school staff including coordinators and principals, community stakeholders and EdConnect staff.
Chairperson of the Roy Hill Community Foundation and Roy Hill CEO, Barry Fitzgerald announced the winner and said,
‘Pilbara Mentors was one of the first programs to be supported by the Roy Hill Community Foundation and the program is going from strength to strength with the support of the Hedland community’.
He told the audience that the program has the greatest number of corporate volunteers of all the EdConnect programs in Australia.
Chief Executive Officer of EdConnect Australia, Gerri Clay said,
“It was a great opportunity to thank the volunteers and showcase the program, enabling the local community and the Roy Hill Community Foundation members to see the growth of the program and partnership.”
The Pilbara Mentors program started in 2016 and is now in four primary schools and the high school.
The Pilbara Mentor of the Year, Kirsten Thompson, mentors at St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School where she meets with three students.
“I’ve seen so much change in the students I’ve mentored. I’ve seen them grow to be so much more confident,” said Kirsten.
Kainaz Corda, the School Coordinator at St. Cecilia’s said,
“The students see Kirsten as a friend and they’re able to talk to her about issues and friendships even if it means standing up for themselves. She’s definitely pushing them in the right direction.”
The Pilbara Mentors program connects community volunteers with a student who has been referred by a teacher who believes they would benefit from a positive adult role model in their life.
With the increase in member schools, the demand for community volunteers has grown. Volunteers do not need any specific skills or experience. They simply need to have a spare hour each week or fortnight, along with a desire to make a positive difference in a young person’s life.
“I think you will surprise yourself with how much you can share with the students,” said Kirsten Thompson.
For information on how to get involved to sign up to volunteer, go to www.edconnectaustralia.org.au or contact Glenys Hayes the EdConnect Liaison Officer in Port Hedland on 0499030707.