Friends for Youth in Australia

Sarah Kremer's keynote
--> The Australian Youth Mentoring Network 2012 Conference, Innovation. Evidence. Network, was held on 14 – 15 November at the Radisson Resort Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute Director Sarah Kremer was honored to be a keynote speaker who, along with Dr. Reneé Spencer, shared the latest in U.S. research and practices with 175 attendees from across Australia and New Zealand. Sarah’s keynote presentation, Ten Practices that Help Achieve a Successful Mentoring Program, highlighted Friends for Youth’s expertise in helping agencies ensure high-quality mentoring services and linked them to the AYMN’s new Benchmarks, standards for all mentoring programs. Recommended practices in her talk included information about SAFE (ScreeningApplicants for Effectiveness): Guidelines to Prevent Molestation in Mentoringand Youth-Serving Organizations, their research-based resource that is considered the standard on screening volunteers. Additionally, Sarah’s workshop, Infusing Creativity into Mentoring Relationships and Programs, was attended by over 60 conference participants.
Reneé Spencer's keynote
In addition to Dr. Reneé Spencer from Boston University, whose keynote Realising the Promise of Youth Mentoring featured her research on mentoring relationships, other speakers at the conference included 

Arthur Cora  
     Arthur Cora, an indigenous man whose family are traditional owners from the Yugambeh region in South East Queensland, kicking off the conference with a Welcome to Country Ceremony

Sarah speaking with Minister Garrett

     The Honorable Minister Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education and Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, who delivered opening remarks about the importance of mentoring and education to Australian youth

Dr. Kristy Muir

Dr. Kristy Muir, Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Senior Research Fellow with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, who discussed findings from the most recent research on youth in Australia

Stuart Reid

      Stuart Reid, Director of Policy and Planning: Children Youth & Families Department of Communities in the Western Australia Government, sharing about the Western Australia Mentoring Partnership: From “Us and Them” to “We” and “Us”

Karni Liddell

Karni Liddell, one of Australia’s most successful and well-respected Paralympic swimmers, who shared an inspiring story of how she went from a child with a degenerative muscle wasting disease to medal winner at the Sydney Paralympic Games and captain of the Australian team

Overall, conference attendees’ knowledge of youth mentoring practices was impressively high and information from most of the workshops indicated a solid understanding of youth mentoring principles. Thirteen participants won a Friends for Youth item – a resource, t-shirt, or bag – by sharing with Sarah one of the Australian Benchmarks with a concept illustrated in the keynote presentation and details about how their program addresses both. "It was an immense honor to be invited to speak at the AYMN conference and I was deeply impressed by the collective wisdom in the room and with the level of commitment to providing high-quality mentoring to Australia's youth, many of whom are facing the same issues young people face in our own country," Sarah says.

Lamingtons, a national treat
The Australian YouthMentoring Network (AYMN) is Australia’s lead body for youth mentoring and is a national hub for youth mentoring research, tools, and resources. The AYMN aims to work with interested youth mentoring organizations and practitioners to foster the growth and development of high quality mentoring programs for young people in Australia by providing a national base of collaboration, support, guidance and expertise. The AYMN is non-profit organization and supports over 260 mentoring organizations of which 30,000 young mentees are mentored.  Thank you again, AYMN, and the former EO, Kathleen Vella, for having us!


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