Wheatbelt & Beyond Youth Mentoring (WBYM) is a Not For Profit, incorporated organisation who has been granted charitable status through the ACNC. Our vision is to provide a mentoring program to inspire and empower our young people in the Wheatbelt region and beyond by igniting their passion to be life-long learners, growing their aspirations, achieving their goals and to be the best they can be. WBYM was formed in 2019 by Karen Strange and Janine Dayman following 10 years of developing and running a successful mentoring program at Bruce Rock DHS. An evaluation, funded through the federal government Building Better Regions fund community grant was completed by RDA Wheatbelt in 2018, provided external confirmation of the benefits of this mentoring program to secondary students in Bruce Rock. The commencement of WBYM has provided further opportunity to share the benefits of this flexible, cost effective, successful program with other Regional, Rural and Remote District High Schools in WA.
Secondary students in Regional, Rural and Remote District High Schools in WA face unique challenges due to isolation of their community and small cohorts of peers. They have to make decisions about their upper secondary education in Year 7 or 8 to ensure enrolment at an appropriate school for Year 11 & 12, often also having to leave home at the end of Year 10, or earlier, and board away. They are exposed to a limited number of careers in their local communities due to the size of the town and are isolated from tertiary studying opportunities. With most people knowing each other and the facilities in the community really well there is little opportunity to be put out of
one’s comfort zone. As a result, many students feel uncomfortable and are unwilling to put themselves out of their comfort zone and to be exposed to new things. For all these reasons a mentoring program is a great opportunity for our students.
The inception of our own Wheatbelt & Beyond Youth Mentoring program in 2019 ensured the continuation of the very successful Bruce Rock DHS program with a new District High School established each year since. Carnamah DHS was successfully established during Covid lockdown in 2020 and Quairading DHS and Babakin PS in 2021. The aim is to establish at least one new program each year, whilst supporting existing programs.