Yiramalay’s mentors provide emotional, social and cultural support for Aboriginal students, and work alongside teachers to facilitate culturally-appropriate communication across languages.
The majority of mentors at the Yiramalay site are Aboriginal and come from communities across Australia to teach programs in art, language, law and country.
Our mentors are role models for Yiramalay students, helping them feel safe, secure and settled while at school. Many mentors are Yiramalay alumni who have experienced life at the Studio School firsthand. These dedicated team members play an important role in the Yiramalay community, offering students comfort, wisdom and guidance.
Yiramalay works with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to train mentors in a Certificate III in Education Support. Mentors are also encouraged to undertake further learning and training in mental health support and first aid.
"I love helping students from so many different backgrounds and cultures grow to their full potential and move forward in life. Watching them overcome their early struggles and go on to graduate is so satisfying. The opportunities that this place offers Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people are unreal – I wish we had something similar when I was younger."
"If something upsets the students I can talk to them, keep them company, and comfort them so they feel safe. I feel proud sharing my culture. In the future I want to be like my father, taking the role of leader in my community."
"The incredible learning experience I had at Yiramalay in 2012 inspired me to come back and volunteer six years later. I’ve been involved in the opening of the new student accommodation, participated in the first AFL women’s competition in Fitzroy Crossing, and listened to stories told by both students and Elders. The experiences I’ve had have been life changing and will stay with me forever."
"Through helping the students in class, I have learnt with them about Bunuba language, kinship and the clan groups of this area. The other mentors and I support the kids, teach them traditional cultural practices and dancing, tell stories and help them feel at home.As well as being a role model for the kids, I want to build my confidence, so I can become a leader in my own community."
"I help kids from remote communities build trust, grow, and be their best. I listen and talk to students when they’re feeling down and try to help them make good choices. Yiramalay gives kids the opportunity to get a good education, learn about this country and its people, and discover who they really are."