McLernon Group is proud to be a Community Partner
with the School Volunteer Program.
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
1991 the W.A. Council on the Ageing held a Senior's
Public Forum to which they invited a teacher from
Mt. Lawley S.H.S. and four students to attend.
Everyone at the forum was delighted with the refreshing
and encouraging exchange of views that took place
between the students and seniors. This exchange
seeded the idea by a fellow teacher from Mt. Lawley
S.H.S. to use seniors as mentors in schools for
children with learning difficulties. Because of
these learning difficulties many children had
very low self-esteem, which caused them to build
barriers to learning.
seniors agreed to visit Mt. Lawley and to start
helping some of the students in year 8. Very quickly
the student's built up a trust of their senior
and these barriers soon came tumbling down and
both seniors and students began to relate to each
these small beginnings the program was then developed
through the Volunteer Centre of W.A. where a gentleman
was working on the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program.
He introduced a further group of mentors including
some fellow Rotarians to Mt. Lawley and they too
helped at this school.
establish and further expand the School Volunteer
Program the Council on the Ageing applied for
some funding through the Gordon Reid Foundation
for Youth. This grant was successful which enabled
the program to operate for the first two years.
In 1994 there were 14 schools and 85 mentors involved
in the Program and by the end of 1995 this number
had grown to 29 schools and 176 mentors. The Education
Department of W.A. was then approached and agreed
to provide $30,000 per year for those following
three years. The co-ordinating group was expanded
in 1996 to include representatives from Rotary
International, and on the 6th November, 1996 this
committee was disbanded when the SVP became incorporated.
A new Board of Management was formed and this
Board currently controls the operations of the
Ruth Reid A.M., wife of the late Governor, Gordon
Reid, agreed to become a Patron of the organisation
and was joined in this role in 1997 by The Rt
Hon. Justice Desmond Heenan. Both remain staunch
supporters of the School Volunteer Program.
program currently has over 2000 registered mentors
assisting approximately 3500 young people from
school years K-12 in 217 schools state-wide. The
mentors ages range from 16 to 90 with the vast
majority of volunteer mentors being over 50 years
of age. Our mentor target group is all inclusive,
utilising the abilities of seniors and retired
people, parents, older school students, people
with disabilities, career/retired business mentors
and corporate volunteer mentors.
target group being mentored includes all young
people who have been selected by their school
as those who can benefit most from having a caring,
non-threatening volunteer role model in their
SVP was founded in response to identified needs
which focused on people from the community assisting
young people who were experiencing difficulties
in upper primary and lower secondary school level.
To initially identify these needs consultation
was undertaken with a number of WA schools as
well as with many senior community organisations.
Since its inception SVP has always worked in partnership
across all sectors of the community.
aspects of schooling and social life has changed
over the last few decades and where it was once
the role of parents to prepare their child for
school and life, this role is now becoming more
the role of teachers and people in the education
system. There is an urgent need for young people
in difficult circumstances to have access to guidance
and assistance with basic academic, social and
life skills. It is the shortfall in parent/family
support that the School Volunteer Program fills
and the volunteer mentors can meet and help address
these needs which are desperately required by
some young people.
schools in Western Australia and throughout Australia,
are now finding that between 20 - 35% of their
students are being classified as 'Students at
Educational Risk' which is due to many reasons
such as low literacy and numeracy levels, low
self esteem, lack of home support, behavioural
problems, non-English speaking, low social skills,
etc. It is impossible for teachers to help these
students on a one-on-one, regular basis. Again,
this is where the wonderful resource of using
volunteers from the community to act as mentors
in the schools can fill this role and help to
make our next generation of children better prepared
as citizens of Australia.
the senior and retiree population increasing across
Australia there is a vast, largely under-utilised
resource of experience, love, caring, expertise
and community people with on-going capabilities
available to contribute to society and in particular
to our children of the future. On the current
population statistics and trend it is anticipated
that by the year 2025 there will be more seniors
over the age of 65 than children under the age
of 18 living in Australia.
is the belief of the SVP that every child has
the right to a good education and every member
of our community has a role to play in the schools
and ensuring that young people are provided with
the most important service that our overburdened
educational system cannot always deliver - one-on-one
interaction with an adult.
SVP is providing a valuable service to many schools
in Western Australia, and this service will increase
as the mentors become more confident and capable
through training programs and information workshops.
Adult volunteers are enjoying the challenge of
helping children, and this is a natural extension
of the traditional role of older and wiser members
of the community. Many younger people are also
helping struggling students in the program as
the schools are grateful to receive one-on-one
assistance from people across all generations.
The youngest SVP volunteer mentor is 16 years
of age and the oldest is a spritely 92.
SVP is harnessing this altruistic endeavour on
the part of mentors, and by training and subsequent
recognition, is not only providing a professional
conduit for older Australians to participate in
their community but is enabling volunteers of
all ages to become valuable community members.
Through the wonderful efforts of these Australians
the SVP is also assisting and making a difference
to the lives of thousands of Australian children
who may not otherwise have received such specialised
one-to-one guidance and care.
Board of Management of the SVP is committed to
expanding the SVP into every school that needs
the service across Australia and subject to funding
is confident that continued expansion is in the
best interests of mentors, children and the general
School Volunteer Program Inc. is dedicated and
committed to helping the students, schools and
all community minded people of Western Australia.
This has been evident in the number of years this
program has been running on very little funding.
The dedication shown by the Voluntary Board of
Management, the volunteer co-ordinators of the
program and most importantly, the vast number
of volunteer mentors who unselfishly give up their
time each week to attend a school as well as training
sessions all augers well for the future of volunteering
and community life in Western Australia and in
the not too distant future, Australia wide.
School Volunteer Program Inc for further information.
Computer Links Program
McLernon Group is proud to be a Community Partner
with the Computer Links Program.
Links is a six-week course run by the School Volunteer
Program Inc. and local schools, where high school
students (under the guidance of their teacher)
work with 15-20 participants (mostly senior, unemployed
or low income community members), on a one-on-one
basis to teach the participants how to use a computer.
The course is provided free to community participants.
It is a wonderful intergenerational opportunity
that benefits all concerned, as seniors and students
work together in an atmosphere of respect and
WA No Interest Loans Network Inc
McLernon Group is proud to be an accredited agent
for the WA No Interest Loans Network Inc.
About WA NILS
NILS is a not for profit organisation created
in response to the difficulties faced by low income
households in obtaining affordable credit in order
to purchase essential household items. “Low
Income” is defined as anyone who holds a
Commonwealth Health Care Card. WA NILS can help
make getting a loan achievable.
Interest Loans should not be confused with emergency
financial assistance programs provided by other
organisations throughout Australia.
necessity to use credit for the purchase of essential
items places low-income consumers in a vulnerable
position amongst the various players in the financial
marketplace. First hand experience and the findings
of numerous research projects by consumer groups
indicate that many financial institutions unfairly
discriminate against low – income consumers,
particularly in relation to credit provision.
is a sad irony that those on the lowest incomes
generally pay the highest rate of interest for
credit. These rates are justified by the industry
on the basis that the nature of the loan and its
recipient make it high risk lending. WA NILS provide
loans up to $1,000 without interest or charges
to low income earners to purchase basic household
items. Loans are generally repaid within eighteen
months and are usually only for new goods however
McLernons have been accredited to offer loans
against refurbished IT equipment because of the
stringent testing, backup and warranties offered
by the Group for this type of equipment.
WA No Interest Loans Network Inc for further
McLernon Group Of Companies).
School Volunteer Program
Group Of Companies
and Community Entrepreneurs