Mentor program saved; Portland Aluminium donates $20,000 to Standing Tall
A HIGHLY-REGARDED community mentoring program at Heywood and District Secondary College has had its immediate future secured after a $20,000 funding injection from Portland Aluminium.
The company will donate the money across two years to the Standing Tall program at the school, which seeks to work with students who might be at risk of disengaging from education.
The future of the program, which costs about $38,000 annually to run, had been uncertain after it lost state government funding about a year ago.
It had been kept going with donations and/or in-kind support from local businesses including Portland Aluminium and the Port of Portland.
School principal Kelly Webster said the funding had saved the program.
“If we didn’t get funding the program wouldn’t run,” she said.
“The volunteers are a really important part of it as well and it’s great to have that link with the community and Portland Aluminium, and their big thing is about the youth.”
Standing Tall co-ordinator Shara Rose said it was “great news”.
“Portland Aluminium had already given us some sponsorship last year but decided to increase it given that we were having trouble finding funding,” she said.
“It definitely secures the immediate future of the program.”
The next thing on the wishlist was a handful of mentors.
“At the moment we’ve got 22 students being mentored and we’re looking at a couple of mentors waiting to be trained, but we’re looking to get numbers up to 25,” Ms Rose said.