Students ‘at risk’ work with retired men from the Yarram community
Men’s Shed volunteers are acting as mentors to a group of boys at the Yarram Secondary College boys. The workshop medium is providing a relaxed environment to improve literacy,work skills,social literacy and interaction and community confidence. It has given the boys a positive male influence and is teaching them new practical skills and all parties have enjoyed themselves.
Mark Binding, Yarram Community Learning Centre’s Workshop Supervisor has encouraged more men to attend Wednesday’s Men’s Shed days, and has supported the men in developing their shed, as well as doing community work to help purchase new tools on the ‘wish’ list.
The shed has been refurbished and set up as a workshop that uses the time of retired people and a grant of $2,000 from a ‘student at risk program’ in the Gippsland Region has meant a project manager could open the workshop on Friday, buy materials for students, provide lunch for students and assist with payment of electricity etc.
There are eight volunteers from the Yarram community who rotate their services. These men are retired teachers/tradespersons (carpenters, boilermakers, furniture makers). Most men work the entire Friday other commitments permitting.
The 20 week program
A diary of how the program worked
Eva Hirt of Yarram Secondary College says throughout the first 9 weeks of the program a diary was kept of observations made of the students and volunteers.
The diary records a wonderful outcome
The decreased antisocial behaviour can be measured directly by decreased suspensions. There were no suspensions from May to September in 2005. School attendance is up and truancy is down. Students have enrolled in VCAL subjects for Year 11 in 2006. The year 9 students going into Year 10 have expressed an interest in continuing with projects at the Men’s Shed.
Are states other than Victoria heading off down this road with Men’s Sheds? They seem to be achieving great things here, we’d love to hear about other states’ experiences!