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  1. #1
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    Default Kids hope - religious mentors in schools

    Does anyone know about this program? It is basically a program run by world vision where (Christian) churches pay to volunteer in public schools, matching a church member with a vulnerable child as a mentor. The volunteers are trained for the role, and spend one hour a week one on one with the child, in an "observable" area, with the aim of giving the child a loving "best friend" apart from their parents. The parents must consent, but never actually meet the mentor. After six months the mentor is allowed to invite the child and family to their church.
    What do you think? Have you seen it in action? Am I crazy for being suspicious and worried about this?

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    I'd be worried about any kind of rule that I couldn't meet the mentor, and why would my child need a loving "best friend". Yep, I'm immediately suspicious.

    I can see that that would cause problems, especially as a child being labelled as 'vulnerable' - what would have to come before hand to instigate a particular child being 'picked'?

    Also would the family be Christian to start with, or is it to get them to attend a particular church through guilting them into it being 'good for their child"?

    The mentor is allowed to invite the family to their church, what if they don't and the child is expecting it? Way too many rejection possibilities there.

    I'm a Catholic and there's no way I'd let this happen with my child. Period.

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    twotrunks  (12-09-2012)

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    Just wondering where you got you're info from?

    I had a look at the website and whilst not really my cup of tea, it seems like a worthwhile program for those that would benefit it from it and doesn't mention a lot of the things you mentioned.... (not doubting you of course, one would expect the website to be promotional )
    Last edited by wannawannabe; 12-09-2012 at 19:48.

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    Default Kids hope - religious mentors in schools

    It would be a good idea except for the religious overtones. Sounds like a recruitment drive designed to prey on vulnerable people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shelle65 View Post
    It would be a good idea except for the religious overtones. Sounds like a recruitment drive designed to prey on vulnerable people.
    According to their website/FAQ's
    Is Kids Hope Aus. a religious program?


    No. Kids Hope Aus. offers academic, social and emotional support to children referred to the program. Mentors strictly adhere to guidelines on respecting the secular nature of education. The mentoring hour is not used for any religious purposes.

    Last edited by wannawannabe; 12-09-2012 at 19:48.

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    Default Kids hope - religious mentors in schools

    Quote Originally Posted by twotrunks View Post
    Does anyone know about this program? It is basically a program run by world vision where (Christian) churches pay to volunteer in public schools, matching a church member with a vulnerable child as a mentor. The volunteers are trained for the role, and spend one hour a week one on one with the child, in an "observable" area, with the aim of giving the child a loving "best friend" apart from their parents. The parents must consent, but never actually meet the mentor. After six months the mentor is allowed to invite the child and family to their church.
    What do you think? Have you seen it in action? Am I crazy for being suspicious and worried about this?
    I haven't heard about it before, but from googling it looks like it's been around a while and has been quite beneficial.

    I don't think I'd mind. I would want to meet the mentor, and I think most parents would. I can't find anything in google saying that you're not allowed to meet the mentor though. Are you sure that's right?

    On the FAQ part of the website it says that with the parent's consent the mentor can invite the child/ family to activities/ events run by the church..but only with consent. Just don't consent if you don't want to go.

    I don't think I'd have any problem with it.

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    I don't know where you are getting your information from. It is a one-on-one mentoring program where a mentor spends an hour a week with one child. One mentor can only mentor one child in one school, so that child feels unique. Usually that takes the form of playing board games, doing Lego, playing basketball. Whatever the child is interested in - the purpose is for the child to gain in self confidence through the program and then find engaging in school at other times easier.

    My Mum has been a Kids Hope mentor for 6 years (same child - from Grade 1 - Grade 6 now) and she knows the boys mum well. Every term they have an afternoon tea where the mentors supply the food and the children & the parents attend to catch up. I don't know if the parents meet the mentor before the program starts - mum started 6 years ago, so it's a long time. As for outside school contact the rules are very strict and the mentor cannot meet with the child alone in any way amongst lots of other rules. Mum has met up with the child and his mum and his siblings in the holidays to go & see a kids movie. I think she's invited them to church for Christmas & Easter services, but there's no obligation at all for them to go (far from it!).

    The feedback I've heard via my Mum, but also from different people who have been involved in other schools is all positive. The schools are crying out for more mentors and the schools really like the program.
    Last edited by mim1; 12-09-2012 at 19:35.

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    My information came directly from the people promoting/organising the program - I am not saying that it is done exactly the same in every town or school, but I am taking it directly from the world vision people.
    Fr those saying its not a religious program, sorry but that is completely naive. It is not offered to anyone other than church members, and only Christian churches at that, world vision being a Christian organisation. No oNe in the general community can do the training, only members of a church that is involved. That isn't saying that the mentors are bad people, or ranything like it. I'm sure most of them are absolutely genuine and want to help. I just don't see any reason for it being restricted to Christian churches who PAY for the privilege of being involved. THe school doesn't pay the church to do it, the church actually pay world vision to be involved - why would they pay for it unless they hope to gain members? I understand the schools are desperate for assistance and funding, but there are other ways to offer support to vulnerable children, such as the kids matter program or similar.


 

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