The Bridge's mentoring program in Shepparton aims to offer support and friendship for young mums and dadsBy Sophie Malcolm
It’s a sunny Friday morning in Shepparton and friends Catherine Pitsiladis and Tegan White are catching up.
Catherine’s six-month-old son Jacob sits happily on her lap, while Tegan’s daughter Piper, 20 months, has a box full of toys and books to keep her occupied.
As Catherine and Tegan chat, it’s hard to believe that a year ago, the pair had never met.
They are part of The Bridge Youth Service’s young parents mentoring program, an initiative that pairs young mums and dads with local volunteer mentors.
The project began mid-last year and co-ordinator Linda King said it provided young parents with support, understanding and friendship.
‘‘It’s about linking young parents with members of the community to support them,’’ she said.
‘‘Not everyone has family support and they could be new to the area and not know what’s available in the community.
‘‘They support them with anything from transport to doctors’ appointments to just being there as a friend, going for a coffee or linking them in with things that are happening in the community.’’
Catherine, 17, said Tegan often helped her with transport and shopping, as well as being there for a chat and coffee every week or so.
The mentors agreed they got just as much out of the program.
Mentor Di Rhodes said she enjoyed the relationship with her mentee, Amber Butler and her daughter, Heidi, 3.
‘‘I suppose I really wanted to get involved to do something for the community,’’ Ms Rhodes said.
‘‘Then I read about the mentor program .
‘‘Since meeting Amber and Heidi, I’ve a gained new friend. Heidi’s just fantastic and every time I think, ‘Oh I can’t do this’, I think, ‘Oh, I bet Amber could find a way to do it’. Every time I hit a brick wall, I know Amber could do that.’’
Ms King said the project, which began in July last year, had received a ‘‘huge response from the community’’ — so much so, the service was now looking for more young parents to get on board.
‘‘We trained 16 mentors in August and we’re now in the process of matching them up (with mentees), we’ve had some really great outcomes and they all just love it,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s difficult at first to sell it to them (the young parents), but once they’re in they just love it.’’
Police have released an image of a man they wish to speak to following an incident at SPC Ardmona in Shepparton, involving a package later found to be non-threatening.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
Outreach worker Les Twentyman, a local policeman and ERH worker, were among guest speakers at the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service community forum about substance abuse last week.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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