“A series of tragic events set my life on a different path. I felt a failure. COACH embraced my whole family. Now my life is so different. My heart is open to new possibilities.”


A Family Mentor is friend with purpose who offers practical help and mentoring towards the family’s life goals. The aim is to strengthen the whole family through a one-to-one mentoring relationship between a volunteer and a parent.

The fourteen hour initial training for Family Mentors covers an introduction to mentoring as well as boundaries, risks and understanding healthy families.

Miriam's Story

Miriam* arrived in Australia alone and isolated with her three children, having fled famine and war in Ethiopia. She was in fragile emotional health, lacked a supportive social network and was unable to speak English.

Referred into the local COACH program by a community welfare organisation, Miriam identified her main goals as learning general life skills and developing a sense of social connectedness.

Two mentors, Sandy and Christina, worked together assisting Miriam assimilate into her new country, teaching her how to host her very first children’s birthday party for her five year old daughter Brooke and her new Australian school friends. A third mentor, Nermine, worked with Miriam to develop financial and budgeting skills.

Three years on, Miriam is much more capable of managing her life and finances. With COACH support, she participates in community morning teas and volunteers with cooking classes for her local community. Miriam offers encouragement and practical support to the participants, imbuing her with a sense of purpose and confidence as she helps others.

Miriam says, “I am so lucky to be connected with the COACH program… I even have three mentors. I love the influence my mentors have had because they are… all good, kind, encouraging, helpful, reliable, honest and always so nice… without the COACH program and the support from my mentors I probably would have been in a lot of trouble.”

*Name changed to protect privacy

"He encourages me to go to school and to play sport and he’s encouraging me and I feel like I should meet more people like him.”


A Youth Mentor is a friend with purpose who offers activities and mentoring towards a young person’s life goals. Youth mentors operate within secondary schools or within the community. The aim is to help the young person learn and benefit from a positive older role model.

The fourteen hour initial training for youth mentors covers an introduction to mentoring as well as boundaries, risks and understanding young people.

Tim & James

Will is the mentor for brothers Tim and James and believes that positive relationships can bring about genuine change. The boys’ single mum Suanne was focused on managing her mental health problems and at times struggled to attend to the boys’ needs as well as she would like. Suanne felt that the boys would benefit from an older male role model.

James felt directionless and uncertain about his future. Will has influenced James to complete his education and has stimulated a passion for guitar playing. James is currently completing a music subject at TAFE which involves a year-long placement in a music store in his local area, which he loves.

Tim, who enjoys football, was at risk of falling out of the education system. With Will’s encouragement and networking with education professionals, Tim has engaged with a community-based education program tailored to his specific needs.

Suanne says, “Youth COACH is really good because it gives the boys someone else to teach them what to do, steering them in the right direction. They haven’t got a father figure in their life and Will is like a big brother to them.”

"I see the children involved becoming happier at school or, sometimes, just calmer. In the context of this non-judgemental relationship, each child has the space to be themselves. The parents tell us that they can see the results, with the kids talking about the program and getting excited about it."


A Kids COACH Mentor provides one to one mentoring and relationship building for a primary school student or group of students in a school, during school hours, for the purpose of strengthening the student emotionally, educationally and socially. The aim is to widen the circle of influence, speaking hope, offering practical help and a positive role model.

"Without COACH I would have been in jail I reckon. With COACH we were taught that we needed to work together."


A mentor for an ex-offender is friend with purpose who offers practical help and mentoring towards life goals. The aim is to strengthen the ex-offender and reduce their risk of reoffending through a one-to-one mentoring relationship with a volunteer.

The 14 hour initial training for ex-offender mentoring covers an introduction to mentoring as well as boundaries, risks and understanding and preventing reoffending.

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