The team of mentors and mentees

Research shows that school children with a mentor find more self-confidence and self-esteem. Behavior, attitudes and relationships also improve when a youth has a mentor - and it helps them grow and close the social and/or economic opportunity gap. 

Three of Ventia's M5 East Contract staff were involved in mentoring Year 9 students at a local Sydney high school this year - an opportunity that brought benefits to the students and to their mentors.

The In-School Mentoring Opportunity (ISMO) program, a mentoring initiative conducted by the Raise Foundation, provided the opportunity for Diana Barnes, Rizwan Rauf and Andrew Trieu to connect with students at JJ Cahill Memorial High School in Sydney's south.

Susan O'Reilly, Partnerships Manager at Raise Foundations said the organisation was very thankful to Diana, Andrew and Rizwan for their six-month mentoring commitment at JJ Cahill this year. 

"The difference they all made has been exceptional to the young students they mentored, the school, the teachers, and the community," Susan said.

"Diana left an incredible impression on her young indigenous student and a lasting difference to her life, which the school and her community are so grateful for."

"Rizwan brought out the best in his young mentee with her cooking, learning to feel comfortable expressing herself and finding work through resume and interview skills. Andrew's mentee has improved in classes with competency issues previously getting in his way, and the teacher and other students all benefiting from this re-engaged student." 

Diana Barnes is the Environmental and Community Coordinator on the M5 East Contract, and says she believes in the value of grass roots engagement with the community and its younger residents.

"Benefits that the mentees saw included increased confidence, increased assertiveness, ability to better navigate challenging situations and increased ability in balancing school, work, play and study," Diana said.

"By sharing our experience, skills and passion, I believe we can make a real difference to the lives of people who live in the communities in which we operate." 

Susan notes that mentor programs in schools are key when you consider that one in 10 youths in Australia are completely disengaged from school. 

"Having a confiding relationship with a trusted adult is one of the single best predictors of psychological health and wellbeing for young people who face adversity, and it's the reason Raise exists," she says. 

The Raise Foundation had over 1,100 volunteer mentors in 2018 and an equal number of students participating in weekly face-to-face mentoring over a period of six months. Nationally, there are more than 86 schools registered through Raise with a plan for 1,500 students being mentored in 2019. 

The community training and programs costs are supported by general fundraising and a number of corporate partners.

To learn more about the Raise Foundation, visit

The mentoring team