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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Foster-care program Aunties & Uncles launches in Batemans Bay

After helping vulnerable children in other regions for many years, CareSouth is now launching its Aunties & Uncles program in Batemans Bay to support the local community. Aunties & Uncles is a unique mentoring program that connects children, young people, and their families with a carefully matched volunteer carer to help them experience new, everyday things – things that may not be a part of their everyday life and that others may take for granted.

Tracy Mayo, CareSouth’s Executive Officer provides context on the program and its importance for vulnerable young people: “The success of CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles program is in its simplicity. The volunteer carer becomes a positive role model and mentor to the young person and their family by engaging them in everyday activities like walking the dog, cooking, taking them to soccer or dance training, or watching a movie together – all the while connecting with each other, providing different life perspectives and opportunities to extend the young person’s social and community connections. We’re proud to be expanding the Aunties & Uncles program further down the South Coast and support those who need some extra help. After all, it does take a village to raise a child.”

As an early intervention strategy to reduce the likelihood of entering the foster care system, the Aunties & Uncles program has been proven to help vulnerable young people gain valuable life skills and feel a sense of purpose and worth. An evaluation of the program identified significant positive impacts on a child’s connection to community (22% increase), physical activity levels (17% increase), time spent outdoors (22% increase) and improved mental health (20% increase).

John Lamont, a long-term volunteer carer with the Aunties & Uncles program in the Shoalhaven says: “Aunties & Uncles is such a valuable program. It’s a great way for people to experience what giving back and making a difference can do to a child’s life. There’s no reason why this relationship with the twins and their family won’t go on forever. It has brought me so much joy walking beside them on their journey.”

One of the young people John mentored shares the positive impact being a part of the program had on her upbringing: “I don’t really remember a time without John,” says Elizabeth*. “Looking back on it, without having John and Louise [John’s former wife] in our life we probably wouldn’t be back with all our siblings, we might not have finished school because who knows where we would’ve ended up.”

For further information about CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles program, the community can visit:

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