MATES Mentoring

About the program

The MATES youth mentoring program is a model that was originally developed by Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN. Since 2010, it has been implemented in more than 18 schools across the Wimmera Southern Mallee region, matching over 600 mentors with young people.

Central Grampians LLEN introduced MATES as a pilot program in 2021 thanks to a community grant from Northern Grampians Shire Council. The initial pilot involved three schools, however the program has since expanded to include nine schools throughout the Northern Grampians Shire and Ararat Rural City local government areas.

MATES matches nominated students from each school with volunteer mentors from the community. They meet for one hour each fortnight, within school hours, for the duration of the school year.

Becoming a mentor

MATES draws on the strong support of the local community to be positive role models for young people and take a personal interest in their growth and development. Mentor training and involvement is also a great opportunity for professional development.

To be eligible to become a mentor, you must:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Pass a screening process (Working with Children Check and Police Check)
  • Sign and adhere to the CGLLEN Mentors Code of Conduct & Confidentiality Agreement
  • Adhere to any vaccination requirements listed in the current Schools Operations Guide 

Student eligibility

Students are referred to the program by their schools. Please contact your child’s school for further information.

MATES Community Champions

In the future, our goal is to be able to offer MATES to every school in our region and allow all students who could benefit from the program to participate. Our biggest challenge in achieving this goal is the recruitment of sufficient mentors. This is the driving force behind our MATES Community Champions Model, an idea inspired by Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN’s program.

MATES Community Champions are organisations that provide their staff with flexible working arrangements to be able to mentor a student in the MATES Program during business hours. There are two ways an organisation can manage staff volunteering in the program:

1. Donating staff hours to the program

2. Allowing staff to make up the time they spend volunteering outside of their usual working hours.

If your organisation is interested in signing up as a MATES Community Champion, please contact our Youth Project Officer, Penny Walton-Bourke via or 0418 535 478.

Find out more

For further details, or to express your interest in becoming a mentor, please click the button below to fill out The Volunteer Mentor form or contact our MATES Coordinator. Alternatively, you can download the pdf version of the form here and print off, fill out, scan and email back to us to below email address.

Phone: 03 5352 3266

Mobile: 0432 204 840


Our Sponsors