AUDIO: How an hour of your time can change a life
ONE hour can change somebody's life.
An hour of a volunteer's time dedicated to a young person with a disability in Ipswich every week can give them hope they are supported, lend a hand in independent living and form a lifelong friendship.
Tristan Hunt has been mentoring a 15-year-old Ipswich boy for close to five months, helping him learn to cook, exercising whit him and setting and achieving goals.
He is one of many youth mentors engaged by the Endeavour Foundation and especially matched to a young person with a disability.
"The young person I mentor, he's fantastic. He's really excited when I come over," Mr Hunt said.
"He doesn't get a lot of community interaction so when I take him out he does interact whit other people and he gets rewarded for that and he feels happy about being outside, in the community and part of that."
Mr Hunt said the program went hand in hand with his youth services studies but he benefited from the time on a personal level.
"Seeing him happy, that's my reward. I've had different jobs where I make bosses money and I don't get any reward out of that, I just get told to work harder," he said.
"Through this I am getting a reward by being happy and forming a friendship.
"Even If it's a couple of hours of your week, people need to give back and help young people, help them achieve things in life because there is not a lot out there and people need to give back and get involved.
"People need to understand whatever they can give back is going to benefit a young person. It gives a young person out there a little bit of hope that someone can relate to them."
Endeavour Foundation Youth Mentor Program case manager Courtnay Howard said volunteers were matched with a young person based on their personality, skills and interests.
"The mentor and young person spend time together at least once a fortnight, doing activities in the community or working towards the goals they have chosen," Ms Howard said.
"I provide support to the youth mentors, sharing ideas for how to get to know the young person and their family, working through new learnings, and responding to other needs and challenges together.
"For the volunteers, the youth mentor program provides an opportunity to use their skills and interests to make a difference in the life of a young person with a disability, and their family.
"For young people in the program, they appreciate spending time with a volunteer mentor who wants to help them grow and develop their skills and is there purely to offer them support, encouragement, energy and time."
The Endeavour Foundation is currently looking for youth mentor volunteers in the Ipswich region.
For details visit https://www.endeavour.com.au/services/social-community-participation/youth-mentoring or phone 1800 112 112.