A mentoring, self-development and leadership program to help local young adults with cerebral palsy to make the transition to work or further study started this week thanks to funding and staff support from a Hunter-based business.
One of the business people involved says the benefits to the business equal or even outweigh the benefits for the young people.
The Emerge Program will see nine young people from the Central Coast and Hunter paired with a mentor from the Greater Building Society. The mentors and mentees will meet regularly during and after work (around 15 times) throughout the year, to participate in group sessions facilitated by Cerebral Palsy Alliance as well as some fun activities.
One of the mentees is 18-year-old Lambton man, Jospeh Popov. He is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Laws/Social Science majoring in politics at the University of Newcastle. He wants to be a human rights lawyer or politician. He has been paired with the Greater’s Corporate Solicitor Mark Davison.
Joseph also participated in the other Greater Charitable Foundation funded mentoring program run by Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The Ignition Program is for teenagers aged up to 18 years and is run on alternate years to Emerge. Joseph participated in Ignition in 2010 and 2012.
Mark Davison volunteered as a mentor in the Ignition Program last year after it being recommended by another staff member. He says he is now “hooked” on mentoring.
“I am a cut and dried kind of guy, as many lawyers are, and the experience has broadened my people skills and outlook,” Mark said.
“It’s really rewarding to know you are helping young people and you have a lot of fun. The mentors end up getting as much, if not more, out of the program than the young people.”
The Greater Building Society has supported the award mentoring programs since 2008 with the Greater Charitable Foundation assuming funding of the programs when it was established in 2011. The Foundation has provided Cerebral Palsy Alliance with an additional $38,000 this year for the running of the Emerge Program and other support.
Facts About Cerebral Palsy (CP)
- CP is a permanent, physical condition that affects movement. Its effect can range from a weakness in one hand to almost a complete lack of movement. It is not an intellectual disability.
- It is the most common physical disability in childhood. In Australia, a child is born with CP every 15 hours. World-wide, the incidence is the same ‚Äì 1 in 400 births.
- For most, the cause is unknown, and there is no known cure.
Image | Jospeh Popov and Greater Building Society corporate solicitor Mark Davison