The Raise Foundation talks to us about how teenagers across the ACT are struggling to cope.
Published on 01 June 2022
The Raise Foundation is a teenage mentoring program that creates positive change by encouraging teenagers to talk. Anaya, 18, is one of the many teenagers who has a brighter future because of Raise and her mentor.
We spoke to Anaya about how Raise helped her.
“Before Raise, I was a total ratbag. And because of all I have learned, I am a strong, courageous woman. I am independent.”
Anaya, now a graduate of the Raise mentoring program, explains the life-changing impact having a neutral, trusted adult had on her, just when she needed it most.
“It helped me, not just dealing with drama, Raise helped set me up for future life.”
Three years ago, before joining Raise’s in-school mentoring program, Anaya struggled with relationships in school, at home, and in life as an adolescent, which sometimes created feelings of isolation and frustration. She recalls not having the skills to best manage situations and felt she didn’t have anywhere to turn for support.
Sadly, many young people in the ACT are struggling with various challenges that include depression, anxiety, bullying, fear of the future and staying engaged with school. Along with that, support is not always readily available. Refer to the Vital Signs Report 2021.
“I was going through a rough patch with family and friends back then, so it was actually a lifesaver.”
For Anaya, joining the Raise youth mentoring program when she was in year 9, aged 14, was a turning point.
“It was the perfect time for me and also a turning point that helped me stay in school. I felt safe, with a neutral person who I could trust and talk to, someone there just for me – only good can come from that.”
Raise recruits and trains volunteers to become youth mentors before matching them with a young person like Anaya. Based in schools and supervised by a Raise qualified counsellor, the program provides young people access to a caring, independent person who shows up every week, just for them in a safe place.
Since graduating from the Raise program, Anaya says she feels more in control, independent and calmer. She has re-built family relationships and discovered who she wants to surround herself with.
“It has helped me work out what I needed to do for myself, it has set me up for the future”
Through the End of Financial Year Appeal, donations for Raise will go towards supporting their local mentoring program. Donations are a gift that keeps on giving – as the impact of a mentor can be lifelong and create thriving communities.
Since graduating from the program, Anaya has been asked to speak to her fellow students about the program.
“I think it’s built the foundation of what I want to do in my life, not only setting up what I want to do; my career, my future, but set up my personal world… like my relationships with adults and being able to set my goals, build trusting relationships and it’s all been supported through these beautiful mentors… in Raise.”
In the future, Anaya would like to mentor with Raise and has even mentioned training to become a Program Counsellor.