The Host and Mentor Program coordinates the provision of voluntary support to participants and families. The aim is to ensure regularly monthly respite for families, and opportunities for community access and participation for the child or young person. The commencement and development of the host or mentor match is supported by Interchange Inner East Volunteer Coordinators.
Successful matches rely on the availability of volunteers who are able to support a child or young person’s unique needs. There is no cost for families to access the Host or Mentor Program, however families will need to cover the cost of meals and activities for their child during each host or mentor session.
The Host Program aims to match a volunteer individual, couple or family with a child who has a disability. The volunteer host then provides respite by spending time with the child once a month either on weekends or during school time for a few hours, a whole day or overnight.
The Host Program provides time out for parents and carers, builds a strong relationship between the child and the host, and provides the child with meaningful opportunities to engage with the community.
The Mentor Program aims to match volunteer mentors with teenagers and young adults who have a disability. The mentor and young person then spend time together once a month in the evening or on weekends.
The mentor and young person participate in independent activities that they choose together, such as playing sport, going out for dinner, attending live music events, or seeing a movie. Mentors may also support young people to connect with further opportunities for study or work experience.
The Mentor Program focuses on building a strong relationship between the mentor and young person, enhancing the social experience of the young person and providing recreation and personal development opportunities in the community.
Volunteering with the Host and Mentor Program
Becoming a volunteer host or mentor is a rewarding experience. Volunteers need to be 18 years or over. They may be single, living with a partner, with or without children. The time spent volunteering is flexible, and the program can accommodate volunteers who want to balance their volunteering with other interests or commitments.
After a volunteer application is submitted, volunteers may be invited to attend an interview and induction session, and will be required to undergo a police check and working with children check if selected for the program.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer host or mentor, please see the Volunteer Page.