Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)

Do you want to change a life forever by giving 20 hours of your time across a year? AIME’s vision is to end inequality through education.

Join the AIME team to be a mentor for 800+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids across the Southern Cross University regions (Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour).

We believe everyone has a story, and everyone can contribute to the narrative of this country in a positive way. AIME builds bridges between university and those students who might be left behind.

With the AIME Program walking alongside them, Year 12 attainment for local Indigenous students was 96 per cent in 2017, higher than the non-Indigenous average that year which was 86 per cent.

What we do is simple, but it works.

Apply online to be a mentor.

Or get in contact with our local staff:

Paddy Rowe (Gold Coast) pr@aimementoring.com or 0447 520 080
Kaleesha Rhodes (Lismore) krh@aimementoring.com or 0400 995 993
Mathew Swan (Coffs Harbour) msw@aimementoring.com or 0429 229 935

Kaleesha’s story: mentee to mentor

Kaleesha Rhodes AIME

I remember sitting at the back of all my classes because I was too “shame”. Shame because when I looked around the class, there was a minority of Aboriginal kids; I was shame because my culture was a minority, I was shame because of the fact I didn't want to put my hand up and ask a question incase it was “wrong” or “silly”.

My AIME journey started in Year 9. As I walked into the first AIME session at SCU Lismore, my eyes lit up because there was something about this experience that was going to change me. I didn’t feel shame, I felt proud. Proud because when I looked around, my culture was everywhere. By the end of my first AIME session, I left the campus with a completely different mindset. I gained a sense of confidence, pride within myself and my culture.

From this one mentoring session, I went back to school and started speaking up for the other Aboriginal kids in the school.

From year 10–12 I was the Indigenous Representative for the SRC. This honour meant that my fellow Aboriginal peers could come to me with issues and opinions they wanted me to voice within other student leaders.

I completed Year 12 in 2014. I wanted to be a teacher but first I wanted to have hands-on experience and see if I liked it. I walked into a primary school in Lismore with my Resume and asked to see the principal. She wasn’t available so I left a copy of my resume. A few weeks later, I had a call. I had an interview to be a Norta Norta tutor at the school for the Indigenous kids. I truly believe AIME gave me the confidence to walk into a school and ask to see the Principal. It sounds like a daunting thing to do, however the outcome was rewarding!

I spent the last three years working as an Aboriginal Community Support Officer and a Bundjalung Language Tutor.

More recently, I joined the AIME Program Team for Southern Cross University. I want to give back to my community however I can. I know what these kids are going through and when you've been through it yourself, it gives you power to push and want to help make a difference.

The AIME program has helped me overcome many adversities in High School. Every Indigenous kid has a voice waiting to be heard. I believe AIME is the platform for their voices to be heard. I will continue to mentor Indigenous kids, I will continue to listen to them. I will continue to be a Proud Bundjalung woman and tell the kids of the AIME program, they can be proud too.


I did the AIME program from the eighth grade all the way to the twelfth grade. I graduated in 2017. For me, this worked and a lot of people were probably thinking, what is an AIME mentor? We are the people that make the difference. If you want to make a change, then you are an AIME mentor.

Being a mentee in AIME has always given me someone to speak to, whether it be with tutoring, someone to speak to about what's going on in my life. They become an important part of building you as a person and moulding you into the adult you’ll become when you get into uni.

I don’t see AIME as a program, I see AIME as a transition. To be able to connect kids to university, to pave the way for our future doctors, our future marine biologists.

When I was in the twelfth grade, just that little bit of energy that AIME gave me through their claps and standing ovations gave me the strength to submit my poem to the Australian Poetry Festival. What if we can give one more kid, or ten more kids or a hundred or a thousand more kids that opportunity to express themselves and give them the confidence to take that next step forward in life so they can win a poetry award, so they can become a doctor, so they can become President, so they become the next mentor of the next generation to come.