The aim of the SISTER2sister program is to break the generational cycle of suffering by helping ‘at risk’ teenage girls to make better choices for a positive future and to equip them with skills for mastering life’s challenges.
Each of the girls in the program is assigned a Big Sister mentor as a positive female role model to provide support, guidance and advice throughout the program. Big Sister mentors attend a comprehensive two day training course which equips them with the requisite skills and information to ensure that they can handle the various issues which may arise. Big Sisters and Little Sisters are then matched with factors taken into consideration including personality, location, hobbies and age.
The formal program commences in April with a four day Butterfly Boot camp, where the Little Sisters meet their Big Sister mentors and together attend various risk management seminars to learn the necessary skills for survival and coping in difficult circumstances together with team building workshops to challenge the girls and encourage them to work together towards goals.
The Program continues from April to November with monthly risk management workshops, “Life Changing Experiences” to provide rewarding and unforgettable experiences and to boost the girls’ confidence and self-esteem and valuable one on one time with their Big Sister.
Girls are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones and set goals they never dreamed that they could achieve (e.g. complete their HSC, go to university or travel). With increased confidence and the support of their Big Sister mentor the girls begin to take on new challenges which in turn increase confidence. At monthly sessions each girl in turn shares her progress with her personal goals and the group shows their support.
During the program Big Sisters meet once a month with Team Leaders and psychologists to discuss the progress of their Little Sister. Big Sisters provide a monthly written report on their Little Sister to the Team Leader. Issues are discussed and Big Sisters are supported with professional advice from the psychologists.
At the conclusion of the program in late November, there is a Graduation Ceremony to celebrate completion of the SISTER2sister program. Parents, carers and sponsors are invited to attend. Little Sisters speak about their experiences and receive their graduation certificate.
Big and Little Sister graduates stay in regular contact with Life Changing Experiences Foundation. We have a very strong “Sisterhood” alumni with many Big and Little Sister graduates continuing to support the Foundation by attending fundraising events and raising awareness in the wider community.
The SISTER2sister program has changed the lives of almost 500 girls. We anticipate that our Little Sisters will blossom and emerge as Big Sister mentors, positively contributing to the community and providing further significant evidence that this program is truly “Life Changing”.
Topics covered at the Boot Camp and monthly workshops include:
- keeping out of harm’s way
- dealing with depression
- body image/eating disorders
- grief and loss
- healthy body healthy mind
- cooking healthy meals on a tight budget
- anger management
- goal setting
- job interview skills and resume writing
- goal setting
- tapping potential
- and much more.
The objective of all workshop sessions are closely linked to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human needs.
“Over the past 14 years I have witnessed almost 500 girls graduate the SISTER2sister program. During this time I’ve seen a significant increase in high school graduation rates, lower school drop outs, healthier relationships and lifestyle choices and a better attitude about school. I have lost count of the hundreds of girls who had little or no aspiration to finish school who are now the first in their family to do so. Our mentors are incredible women who without a doubt play a huge contributing factor in the success of these vulnerable girls. SISTER2sister has proven time and time again that it only takes one person to change another person’s life.”
JESSICA BROWN Founder and CEO of Life Changing Experiences Foundation
Unlike many mentor programs the SISTER2sister program continues to support graduates (as needed) even after the girls have graduated.
In addition to the SISTER2sister program, participants and graduates of the program have access to our Butterfly Opportunity Program which offers mathematics/IT scholarships, work experience, apprenticeships, employment and much more.