Drive For Life

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The Salvation Army Oasis Youth Network is urgently seeking volunteer driving mentors for the Drive For Life Program in Singleton. 

This worthy program helps financially marginalised young people achieve their driver’s licence; an important step towards employment and independence. It’s been operating in the Upper Hunter for more than a year but unfortunately due to the lack of volunteer driving mentors there are now quite a few young people on the program’s waiting list.

Volunteer driving mentor Greg Clydesdale is a shift worker at HVO Washery which keeps him pretty busy, but he says it’s easy to find time to be part of the program due to its flexibility. 

“This program can easily work around any roster and once you’ve gone through the initial training all you need is a spare couple of hours each week. Spending a couple of hours a week to help change the course of someone’s life; that’s a pretty good trade,” says Greg.

“It’s such a rewarding program to be a part of,” he adds. “Working with these kids you watch not only their driving skills develop, but you also see their confidence grow and their attitudes change.”

Greg says the program has also taught him a thing or two. “Patience,” he says with a laugh. “Actually, it’s taught me to take a step back from the rush of everyday life and be more in the moment. Then as you begin to connect with these kids it becomes even more rewarding as you see them succeed.”

The Upper Hunter Drive For Life program is delivered by The Salvation Army thanks to a partnership with Glencore. The vehicle, fuel, training and all associated costs is covered, so the only thing a mentor needs to provide is their time. 

There are some prerequisites for a volunteer, such as a safe driving record and passing a working with children check, but what they are really looking for are mentors who will be good role models. People who will provide the encouragement a learner needs to prepare for a lifetime on the road.

Drive For Life Program Coordinator, Jean Rennie, said the role of a driving mentor is integral not only to a learner’s progression through the program but also to their personal development and long-term job prospects.

“Our Drive For Life mentors can genuinely transform young lives. We know that when a young person obtains a driver’s licence their world is suddenly open to a host of new opportunities, including securing a job. It may seem daunting to supervise a learner driver’s logbook hours, but we would like to assure anyone interested in becoming a mentor that we have developed this program so that the learner and the mentor receive comprehensive training and ongoing support,” said Jean.

Contact Jean Rennie  0437 082 219

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