Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Call out for Echuca-Moama mentors for disadvantaged youth

Moama resident John McAllister has an idea to mentor young people and is hoping Echuca-Moama and district residents will help.

IVY WISE June 16, 2014 3:21am

John McAllister.

Interest is being sought into an idea to pair educated retirees or mature-aged residents with disadvantaged students.

Moama’s John McAllister, a Cobb Haven resident for the past nine years, has developed the idea over several years after retiring.

Mr McAllister worked as a mining engineer in England and South Africa before moving to Australia, where he lectured at universities in Tasmania and Ballarat.

‘‘When I retired, I was thinking about doing some tutoring and it’s only in the last couple of years that I thought I should do it on a voluntary basis to help young kids out,’’ he said.

‘‘Looking around Cobb Haven, I realised there is a lot of wasted brain power.

‘‘We could help kids with their homework and their progress.

‘‘My idea is to mentor disadvantaged kids. Disadvantaged in that they have the potential, but it’s not being used or they are not getting that support.’’

The issue is close to his heart because of his own experience.

‘‘I was disadvantaged in a way that I was quite bright at school, but I had no support,’’ he said.

‘‘It wasn’t until I started working that I got encouragement from my employers.

‘‘My parents were working people, so they didn’t really understand and push me (into further education).

‘‘These are the type of kids I’d be interested in mentoring.’’

Unsure about where to start, Mr McAllister is calling on people who could help him set up such a mentoring program, as well as other educated retirees or residents who would be interested in volunteering their time.

‘‘I’m sure there are many people with qualifications; former teachers, professionals, engineers, tradesmen,’’ he said.


The Riv contacted Campaspe Cohuna Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Anne Trickey about Mr McAllister’s idea and said she would be happy to help.

‘‘Mentoring students is a very worthwhile exercise and we have information on mentoring programs in schools,’’ she said.

‘‘What we can do now is help John to make contact with the appropriate people in the schools to target the types of students he is talking about.’’

Anyone interested in being a mentor, or who can help Mr McAllister get his idea off the ground can contact Ivy Wise on 54821111 or at

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