OUR IMPACT IN SCHOOLS
Reach has been working with young people, teachers and schools for the past two decades. This work enables tens of thousands of young people to experience Reach each year.
We know that students’ wellbeing is vital to their academic performance. Empirical evidence demonstrates that wellbeing is essential to successful student engagement and positive learning outcomes. Our partnerships with schools enable us to contribute to these outcomes. For every workshop delivered, our wellbeing team ensures that the school has conveyed relevant student information that enables our facilitation team to respond to a range of diverse needs. This also assists a school’s own wellbeing team in addressing issues for students as they arise.
In 2015, we delivered 951 workshops to young people in schools across Victoria and NSW including the regional areas of Gippsland, Swan Hill, Geelong and the Hunter Valley.
Reach supports a sustainable and holistic approach to improving the wellbeing of young people by offering school partnerships. We offer three different levels of partnership that allows schools to choose the level of engagement that suits their needs; Introductory, Foundation and Whole School Partnerships. We encourage all schools to integrate Reach into the curriculum and the school community. Reach proudly holds over 160 partnerships with schools nationwide. All our schools are closely supported by our Reach staff and wellbeing professionals who work closely with teachers and welfare personnel to ensure that their young people receive the very best experience of Reach.
Whole School Partnerships ensure that Reach is able to work sustainably with the school community. Robinvale P-12 College in the Swan Hill region has had an established partnership with Reach since 2010. Students have participated in workshops on an annual basis and many of their teachers have participated in the Reach Finding Heroes Teacher Training Program to ensure the students have an opportunity to engage in Reach work integrated into the curriculum.
One teacher at the college recently wrote to Reach:
“I just wanted to pass on how appreciative we are that Reach visited. Our students love it - the year 12 have complained they missed out - and students are already asking when you are returning - always a compliment. Our staff found it invaluable hearing a few of their concerns and have been reflecting on ways to be more supportive. The workshops are fantastic and your guys did an amazing job.” (Karen Becker, Wellbeing Coordinator, Robinvale P-12 College)
OUR IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY
Our more intensive work with young people occurs in communities across Victoria and NSW. This work enables young people to have deeper and more impactful experiences, and ongoing interaction with Reach, to support sustainable outcomes.
Our approach to working within communities enables us to work outside the education system with young people who may not otherwise have access to our programs. Importantly, this work is supported and enabled by our partnerships with a large number of community organisations, government departments and wellbeing professionals committed to creating positive outcomes for young people. We integrate a direct wellbeing presence into all community workshops that ensures a greater diversity of young people’s issues can be accommodated and supported – this includes providing pre-program assessments and oversight of program content with a view to identifying unanticipated impact on participants’ wellbeing and participation in all workshops and weekends away.
In 2015, we delivered 70 workshops to young people in communities, which included weekend experiences as well as daytime and evening workshops.
THE WHITTEN PROJECT
The Whitten Project is a youth education program delivered by the Western Bulldogs Football Club in partnership with five local councils. The program aims to inspire, educate and mentor leaders for social change in Victoria’s West by providing nominated young people with an exciting range of life, civic and sport experiences in which to learn and develop from.
In 2015, Reach partnered with The Whitten Project to deliver two workshops for 60 participants focusing on the ideas of team dynamics, judgement, and authentic leadership. Feedback from the workshops found that 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the workshops helped them to understand more about those around them, 98% agreed or strongly agreed that the workshops helped them to feel enthusiastic about pursuing their goals, and 94% agreed or strongly agreed that the workshops helped them to understand themselves better. When asked to describe their experiences of the workshops, participants shared the following:
“I liked that it taught me to be myself and not to judge others”
“I liked that I was able to connect with everybody and that I’m not the only one who feels how I feel”
“It was great because I got to learn about others but I was also able to build my confidence up”
“I loved getting out of my comfort zone and being there for those who are doing the same”
Mark De Campo, Community Leadership Manager at the Western Bulldogs Football Club, said that the workshops were delivered by a group of inspiring and energetic staff and provided “unique and challenging environments for young people to express themselves and step out of their comfort zones. The Reach Foundation staff has a rare ability to engage with young people and challenge them to do things they never thought possible. Participants left The Reach Foundation workshops with a myriad of positive outcomes that included: a greater sense of self, new friendships, closer bonds and most importantly, the confidence to be themselves and pursue their dreams.”
In 2015, Reach and Whitelion celebrated 10 years of partnership in delivering the RAMP program. Ramp is a mentoring program for young people in out-of-home care in the Eastern Region. The program incorporates five experiential workshops, a Weekend Away, and a Christmas Party for all participants. Whitelion matches young people with adult mentors and Reach leads the program delivery. Ramp has a special community and family feel, with some participants remaining engaged for five or more years.
Participants described the workshops as: Reflective; Inspiring; Family; Amazing; Uplifting; Awesome; Fulfilling; Positive. Young people said they liked: “the companionship”, and “having people to listen and understand”.
Enjoyable in so many ways. Laughing, crying, caring, thinking, reflecting and growing.
- Ramp mentor.
The Weekend Away was a particularly powerful experience of sharing, fun, and growth, with 18 participants.
Almost all (93%) participants reported that the weekend helped them to understand themselves better; have more confidence; make more positive choices about what they say and do; feel better about asking for help; understand more about those around them; feel enthusiastic about pursuing their goals; and stay focused on what is important to them!
‘It is a unique experience I consider to be a privilege, that has made me a better person’.
- Ramp mentor.
In November we celebrated 10 years of Ramp with a 10 yearbirthday-party-themed outdoor event, complete with jumping castle, sausage sizzle, face painting, birthday cake, and giant games. Whitelion’s CEO, Mark Watt described the early formation of the partnership with Reach Co-founder, Jim Stynes. It was incredibly special to have some people attend that had been the original participants of Ramp in 2005.
May Ramp continue for another 10 years, and beyond!
The Regional Youth Development Officers Network (RYDON) Conference
Reach presented at the RYDON Conference in June 2015, which is an annual event that hosts up to 200 youth workers, teachers and professionals working in the youth sector.
The 2015 RYDON Conference showcased innovative programs, unique strategies and inspiring ideas when working with young people. Reach presented the conference keynote with Reach facilitators, Adam Daniel and Rozi Komlos supported by various other crew, introducing Reach to the youth and community sector in the Hunter Valley and presented a sneak peak of the findings from the Hopes and Dreams Report.
On the second day of the conference Reach facilitated two workshops, which challenged comfort zones, invited participants to take risks and allowed opportunities for real conversations.
The Mental Health Week
In October 2015, Reach partnered with Cessnock Youth Centre and Cessnock Council for Mental Health Month. Reach designed and facilitated workshops that created conversations about mental health including strategies for maintaining positive mental health. These workshops were delivered across the Local Government Area for students from Cessnock High School, Kurri Kurri High School and Mt View High School.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS
During the year, we delivered on the requirements for all funding agreements with our government partners, including the following projects:
- Building Resilience in Young people (State Government of Victoria’s Department of Human Services (DHS))
- Time to Thrive (State Government of Victoria’s Department of Human Services (DHS))
- Living Safe Together Project (Attorney-General’s Department)
This activity represented more than 7000 instances of participation in Reach workshops and programs by young people, training and development of Reach Facilitators and the engagement of over 200 teachers and educators in the professional development program, Finding Heroes. Due to these funding grants we were able to impact young people in communities we had not previously reached.
To ensure the positive outcomes are sustained we hope to maintain our valuable partnerships with the Federal and State governments, to enable this work to continue into the future.