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Students sign up as mentors


Brigid Veale
25 March 2010
Around 400 Southern Cross University students at the Coffs Harbour campus have signed on to mentor Indigenous high school students through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) Mentoring Program.

This is double the number of student mentors who were involved in the program in 2009.

AIME matches up university students and high school students for an hour a week over the course of a 17-week program. Through sessions that focus on interactivity and leadership, AIME's goals are to improve Year 10 completion rates, Year 12 completion rates and university admission rates for all participating students.

The AIME Mentoring Program has had strong support from Professor Jenny Graham, Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Dr Rosie Wickert, head of the Coffs Harbour campus.

2009 Southern Cross University student and AIME mentor Alex Bruggisser said being involved with a program that was run by young people for young people was inspiring.

“The positive changes that you’re helping kids make to their lives are obvious. It’s been working as an AIME Mentor at SCU that I’ve figured out exactly what I love doing,” Alex said.

Andrew Mansini, deputy principal of the participating Orara High School, has endorsed AIME’s presence in the region.

“There is a change happening with the Indigenous students here at Orara High, and AIME has certainly been part of that. The program has definitely made an impact on the Indigenous students at our school,” Mr Mansini said.

Led by AIME’s North Coast Program manager Clark Webb, Coffs Harbour is witnessing a shift in youth ownership of social issues.

“Southern Cross University has been willing to back this idea, and has now given their students a chance to connect with something completely new that can potentially change Indigenous engagement in Coffs Harbour forever,” Mr Webb said.

“The students are putting their hands up and saying ‘we can get this done’.”

Photo: The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience matches up university students as mentors for Indigenous high school students.