On September 25, YWCA staff, DHHS, past and present mentors and mentees celebrated the Asista program’s achievements over the past 21 years. Running in the North Western Region of Melbourne, the program has consistently delivered positive outcomes for young women and their mentors. We couldn’t be prouder of their success!
The YWCA Asista Mentoring program began its operation as a pilot mentoring program in September 1998 as an initiative of the YWCA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Child Protection. Being a gender specific program offering a ‘big sister’ relationship, the program was subsequently named ‘Asista’ (A Sista).
Asista offers young women the opportunity to have a mentor to support them through adolescence, providing friendship, guidance and encouragement for their mentees. The program recruits and trains women from the community who volunteer to become a role model in a young woman’s life.
The program promotes a safe space where the young women can be appreciated for who they are and feel heard, creating the right set of circumstances to build confidence and positive self-esteem. Mentees report important positive outcomes such as reduced isolation, a greater awareness of life’s possibilities and feeling accepted for who they are. They also increase their confidence to handle problems and most importantly, they report feeling happier.
“I think that this program has helped me to grow as a person, it has helped me to be more confident and to pursue my dreams.”Asista Mentee
The program facilitates an opportunity for both young women and their mentors to engage in personal growth and new experiences through social and recreational activities. Ticking experiences off the bucket list is encouraged for both mentor and mentee!
New experiences and personal growth has formed the foundations of the Asista program, and for mentor Claudia and her mentee Lushani these foundations helped to grow their relationship.
Claudia and Lushani were matched 6 years ago and have been growing their friendship ever since. Bonding over a shared love of running, the pair have tackled life’s challenges together whilst motivating each other to try new things. Since being mentored by Claudia, Lushani says she’s become calmer and more open to new experiences. Having experienced personally how mentorship can change a young woman’s life, Lushani says she wants to give back and become an Asista mentor herself!
Over the past 21 years more than 300 young women have benefited from the program and a one-to-one relationship with a mentor.
YWCA’s Asista program is currently looking for women mentors. If you’d like to give back to a young woman, please contact us.