Odyssey House Victoria’s mentoring program is gathering momentum. Established in 2020, the program has been created to provide support to clients of our Lower Plenty residential rehabilitation service who are nearing the end of their program, as they transition back into the community. This Leavers stage of the program is often accompanied with increased risk of relapse and stress, as residents move away from the safety they have enjoyed within the highly structured residential rehabilitation service.
The transition to independent living, increased personal decision making, and increased contact with the broader community, can make Leavers feel vulnerable and expose them to stigma and shame as they look for employment, suitable housing and a new life filled with meaningful activities. The mentoring program aims to support Leavers through regular one-on-one meetings with community volunteers who are committed to supporting residents to become confident and productive members of society.
Mentors are expected to make a minimum of a one year commitment and to participate in comprehensive training prior to being matched with a Leaver. Once matched, the Mentor would be expected to participate in monthly catch ups with the Mentee (2-4 hours), and weekly phone check ins (2 hours) with the Mentee over a 12-month period.
We have sought a range of mentors aged 25-65 years old, who have broad skills and knowledge and a positive attitude, and who are willing to support Leavers during this important transition in their lives. We have encouraged people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and people from the LGBTIQA+ community to apply to be a mentor. Currently, we have successfully recruited, trained and matched 11 Mentors with residents of our Lower Plenty service. Each Mentor will provide tailored guidance, assistance, and education to the individual they have been matched with, whilst ongoing support is provided by the Mentoring Coordinator to both the Mentee and the Mentor.
We are also creating a Life Skills Workshop Program that will provide additional support in the transition from residential rehabilitation to living in the community. This will offer enhanced support to residents who are preparing to leave residential rehabilitation in the form of skills workshops. Workshops will include topics such as budgeting, cooking, share house living, cyber safety and social media education, along with First Aid and CPR.
If you would like to learn more or apply, please visit our mentoring program page.