It was really good to see so many of you at Distinguished visitor Professor Toni Zimmerman's presentations in Wellington and Auckland last month. The NZYMN welcomed the opportunity to co-host these presentations with the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education. Thank you to Dr. Pat Bullen and the University of Auckland for sponsoring the Professor's visit.
For those of you who were unable to attend in person we are pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to listen to the Professor's Auckland presentation.
The link to the Audio is at the bottom of webpage that opens here: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-events-and-notices/news/news-2015/03/youth-mentoring-expert-to-talk-at-parliament-and-the-university-.html
The presentation is approximately one hour in duration and concludes just before the end of the Q&A session. Prof. Zimmerman is a very accomplished and engaging public speaker and does not use many slides during her presentation. You may therefore find it valuable to scroll through the excellent introductory power point presentation from the home page of the Colorado State University Campus Corps webpage while listening to her speak. http://www.hdfs.chhs.colostate.edu/students/undergraduate/campuscorps/
The main focus of the Professor’s presentation is the Campus Corps youth mentoring model she and her colleagues developed in response to an identified community need to better serve at-risk youth. The young people being referred to Campus Corps from Youth Justice, Social Services agencies and schools are presenting with some of the most challenging behavioural and mental health issues. The mentoring model has a unique three-pronged approach to address their specific needs:
· One-on-one mentoring
· Mentoring pairs also engage in group-based activities, and
· Family Therapists are onsite to support youth as needed.
The programme has been running for about six years now and is achieving some very promising outcomes. Research results show that among the youth that attend Campus Corps, thereis improvement in the following areas:
· Reduced truancy
· Reduced substance use
· Reduced delinquent behavior
· Improved attitudes about substance use, and
· Improved psychological well being.
Participation in the programme for the mentors is also showing some very positive results and is associated with 63% lower odds of dropping out of university in any given year. Student mentors reported:
· Improved leadership skills
· Improved ability to manage stress
· Increased self-awareness
· Expanded commitment to civic action, and
· Enriched interpersonal skills
Professor Zimmerman’s experiences certainly highlight important strategies for working effectively with vulnerable youth. More specifically how to: sustain matches; engage in safe group-based activities; support youth autonomy; and provide therapy in the moment. The Campus Corps model also highlights the benefits of youth mentoring as a service learning activity. Since Professor Zimmerman’s visit there has been significant interest in the Campus Corps model. A team of academics and government officials are currently exploring how this model could be adapted and implemented here in Aotearoa. The NZYMN is delighted with the interest generated from Professor Zimmerman’s presentations and will continue to keep you informed of any progress.