Manly Daily

Sarah Swain, Manly Daily

COULD you help a young woman from Sydney turn her life around?

A charity set up by a former high school teacher needs mentors.

Jessica Brown, 48, from Balgowlah started the charity 14 years ago after working as a music teacher in Bankstown.

Mrs Brown, who grew up in Forestville, realised many of her students were not reaching their potential in the classroom.

Rather than putting them in detention when they behaved badly, she decided she wanted to do something to help the root problems which included abuse, neglect and mental illness.

“It broke my heart as a high school teacher to see so many kids struggling,” she said.

“I decided to empower young marginalised women to make positive choices for a better future.”

She started the Life Changing Experiences Foundation and the SISTER2sister scheme.

It sees an older woman, often with a high flying career, paired up with a disadvantaged teen.

And she might not have children of her own, but Ms Brown jokes she now has 500 girls — that’s the number she’s helped so far.

She’s also gained celeb supporters including Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

Now she needs more women from the peninsula to become mentors.

“Generally our girls are from lower socio-economic areas but around a third of mentors are from the northern beaches,” she said.

Sponsors are also needed to donate $10,000 cost of the year-long program,