Workways Gippsland Engaged
Mentoring (GEM) Program

The Gippsland Engaged Mentoring Program (GEM) began as a grassroots organisation now operating under the umbrella of Workways Australia. GEM recruits and trains volunteers from the community and partner organisations to spend time each week mentoring vulnerable young people (aged 10 – 24) at risk of disengaging from education or community.

2020 brought a dramatic change to the delivery of the GEM Program. On top of devastating bushfires in the Gippsland region the COVID-19 pandemic presented an additional challenge. The East Gippsland community had not yet recovered from bushfire devastation, and was faced with a global disaster. The GEM program adapted and transformed to meet the challenges whilst maintaining its’ goals. Innovations to keep the program going included: multimedia tools; online training; virtual platforms and zoom mentor cafes. Efforts to recruit mentors from further afield included a volunteer from Queensland participating in online mentor training.

The program adapted to be stronger and more resilient than ever, for those who need it most. The volunteers continue to have a significant impact on young people in the region. These engaged youth in turn help to create a stronger, healthier and more diverse community.

Nominate to the 2021 Volunteering Awards