‘I was 14 when my mentor Candice 17 became my foster Mother. I was born in Perth, grew up in Darwin, and then jumped around a fair bit as I got older. It wasn’t until I moved to Geelong 3 years ago, that I found out more about my aboriginality, culture and who I wanted to be. I love mentoring for AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience), and I love that it has given me the opportunity to do more for my community, my people and our future generations to come.’
I’m talking to the bubbly Tanisha who has just finished her nursing degree at Deakin University, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus and works at Barwon Health.
“In 2015 at the Koorie Youth Summit (KYS) I saw Jack Manning Bancroft, CEO and Founder of AIME speak. As a kid and coming from a traumatic family situation, his message inspired me to do more. Through various forms of advertising and community engagement, I had heard about AIME in Geelong and saw the kids in their hoodies. I’m also an artist, so I noticed the different indigenous designs and wanted one!
“In 2016 I became part of AIME’s very first team of mentors at the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) at Deakin, Waurn Ponds. I worked with 7-10 indigenous students from Year 11 who came from all different schools around Geelong (Barwon Region). The program relies on the voluntary involvement from the kids, and within each of the groups you always have your challenging boys and girls. They all have different personalities, different dreams and aspirations. It’s all about offering them the opportunity to go forward and make the right choices. They can learn about their culture, themselves and their peers in a safe environment.
“Different mixes of year groups attend throughout the year, and the kids find that they are able to meet other students from different schools, and/or communities. There is a mixture of mentors from Deakin who all study different courses. The program creates chance and opportunity for mentees and mentors alike, to build meaningful relationships, which in-turn, creates a safe environment for each person on their individual journey. The mentors, benefit from the program just as much as the mentee.
“A program day we ran was called ‘AIME’S got GAME’ and it involved getting 35 mentees together from year 9, 10 & 11 in a group over a day and performing all different and unique talents of their own. And alongside these mentees the AIME mentors performed. We all used different dance moves and you should have seen the kid’s faces! They saw that we weren’t inhibited by shame and loved seeing us mess around. It was great seeing their skits and talents develop over the day.
“Another activity was to hold a 60th Birthday for the year 11s. The kids all had to write Birthday messages to themselves in a card, then cut cake in preparation for their 60 year old selves. One wrote, ‘I hope I haven’t gone to jail’ another ‘I hope I haven’t had too many kids’. We as mentors open them up to positive life choices and give them guidance.
“I love AIME to death, I’d be here every day if I could. I love being involved.”
https://aimementoring.com/be-a-mentor The team at AIME Geelong are aiming for 150 successful applications in the coming weeks. Deakin University, Geelong kicked off in 2016. The National Program has been operating since 2005. AIME is an on-going program, enabling us to have a positive impact and share the educational journey with our Year 7s right through to Year 12. This is achieved by providing kids with structured, culturally relevant and empowering education program days, on site at the Deakin Campus regularly throughout the year. We also have a presence in the schools, in particular our tutoring and transition support for Year 11s and Year 12s.
If you are a Uni student and would like to mentor with AIME, apply before the end of the month.
Follow us for up-to-date info about stories: Twitter: @HumansinGeelong Instagram: @humansingeelong