The SISTER2sister Program
The first SISTER2sister mentoring program was held in Sydney in 2004 and expanded to Melbourne in 2009. The program intends to expand nationally to all the capital cities in the coming years to offer youth ‘at risk’ around Australia the opportunity to break the cycle of trauma and past experiences and develop strategies for personal change and growth.
The program has proven to make a difference to the lives of ‘at risk’ teenage youth many of whom are already active contributing members of their respective communities.
Becoming a Little Sister - click here for more information
Becoming a Big Sister - click here for more information
Becoming a Team Leader - click here for more information
About the mentoring program
The SISTER2sister program takes in up to 50 at risk teenage girls per year per program along with their respective Big Sister mentors. Each of the girls in our program is assigned a Big Sister mentor as a positive female role model to provide support, guidance and advice, where needed, throughout the 12 month program.
The Big Sister mentors attend a comprehensive three day training course prior to being "matched" to their Little Sister. The course is designed to equip the Big Sister mentors with requisite skills and information that will ensure they can handle the various issues which may arise. The course also includes information on their legal obligations relating to their duty of care responsibilities, the health and welfare issues of the girls, and additional avenues of appropriate community support that may be necessary in certain circumstances.
The program commences with the four day Butterfly Bootcamp, where the Little Sisters meet their Big Sister mentors for the first time and together attend various team building workshops that enable them to bond and set a foundation for their mentoring relationship for the months to follow. There are seminars on risk management and independent survival skills that provide various tools and strategies for coping and working through the challenging circumstances they have encountered, may encounter during the year and for life in general. The workshops are designed to teach the girls to empower themselves, develop their self esteem, boost their confidence and encourage them to work together towards goals. Also included are some unique "life changing experiences" all of which make the Butterfly Bootcamp a rewarding and memorable experience.
Once the Butterfly Bootcamp has concluded, the program continues with monthly outings. These outings are held for the entire group of Little Sisters and Big Sister mentors within the program, and they include an educational workshop component which deals with risk or life management issues together with a fun, motivational component which includes activities such as painting with an artist, learning to surf, trapezing or cooking classes!
Little Sisters and Big Sister mentors also have the opportunity to meet on a one on one basis should they choose to do so, in line with the Foundation’s policy.
Program results to date
At the end of each annual SISTER2sister program, the girls have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to help them break the cycle of trauma and/or abuse. Through a comprehensive evaluation we have been able to assess that many of the girls who have gone through the mentoring program develop an increased confidence in themselves and their abilities to have greater control over their lives and futures.
Some of the measureable outcomes for the program include:
Demonstrate positive risk management skills
Utilise strategies to assist them to deal with their past trauma
Create a safe environment with the support they need to thrive
Sustain their achievements from the program
Achieve their education certification
Become financially secure through successfully obtaining and retaining employment
Maintain survival skills independently
Demonstrate high self worth
Attract and build positive relationships
Identify goals and steps to implement and achieve these goals
Over five years the SISTER2sister has been witness to longer term benefits to the community in many of the success stories listed below:
- 12 girls participating successfully in the Outward Bound Leadership Program over 5 days.
- Buying a first property by the age of 22.
- Completing TAFE HSC equivalent with a UAI of 99.
- Speaking to youth counsellors and organisations around the country on self-harm issues affecting teenagers.
- Gaining apprenticeship to be a chef.
- Gaining a scholarship to university.
- Completing HSC.
- Little sister being the first in her family to get a job.
- A little sister who came to Australia as a refugee becoming an Australian citizen.
- Successfully obtaining scholarships and/or entry into university to study varying degrees including nursing and dentistry.
- Contributing to a collection of stories in a published book.
- Successfully obtaining work experience in varied fields of photography and hospitality.
Impact of the program on your community
Since its inception in September 2003 LCEF has nurtured over 275 girls and consequently their respective communities, through the SISTER2sister program. The impact this program has on ‘at risk’ teenage youth is primarily through breaking the cycle of poverty, trauma and suffering.
Ways in which the program impacts the community through the girls include:
Increase in further education and school attendance
Community ‘wellness’ through personal happiness, fulfillment and recognition of self worth
Purposeful use of talents to enable a better life for themselves and their community
Transformation of lives through skills which enable effective coping mechanisms for life’s challenges
Dramatic decline in anti-social behavior
Dramatic decline in domestic violence
Substantial increase in part time employment
Decline of girls living on benefits (with the exception of living away from home rental assistance)
Management of mental illness
Dramatic decrease in substance abuse
Reduction of unplanned teenage pregnancy
Education of the wider community of issues that affect teenagers at risk
Only through the generosity of corporate companies, community services, local business and volunteers can we continue to provide this much needed service to our communities. Please join and support us in facilitating and celebrating the empowerment of at risk teenage girls.
Some frequently asked questions:
Q When does the SISTER2sister program start?
A The SISTER2sister program starts in April of each year for every city where it is held. Prior to the commencement of the program you want to join there will be:
A Recruitment and Selection Process for Big Sister mentors in February;
Mentor Excellence Training over a full weekend for the Big Sister mentors in March
Q Do you have any information nights where I can find out more about voluntary roles within the organisation?
A Yes we have regular information nights - please call the office on 02 9211 9129 for dates
Q Do you plan to move to other states?
A Yes, we are committed to becoming a self sustaining program in order to branch out to other states. To be informed of our movements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to our database to receive our e-newsletter.
Q What does the SISTER2 sister Program calendar look like?
A Click here to see a sample of the SISTER2sister Program calendar and the commitments for the year.
Q I would like to be a Big Sister mentor but the program doesn’t start for a while, is there anything else I can do to help?
A Yes, you can join the phenomenal network of inspirational women in the following ways:
- Start a SASSI team within your company to organise events to fundraise. Click here to find out more.
- Apply to be a volunteer on our website to be contacted for skilled help and fundraising events assistance. Click here to find out more.
- Set up a Hero page to take on challenges and raise funds at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/
- Call us at the office on 02 9211 9129 for other current ways you can assist