In fo­cus


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Krista Rum­ble, 22, stu­dent

This year I am com­plet­ing an in­tern­ship with my church (South Shep­par­ton Com­mu­nity Church) and I as­sist in run­ning a play­group for mums and kids and an af­ter-school pro­gram called Kids Rock for Prep to Year 6 stu­dents. They are both out­reach pro­grams.

Peo­ple of­ten as­so­ciate churches with judg­ment and there is a per­cep­tion they won’t be ac­cepted and that’s not the case. It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to feel ac­cepted and gen­uinely wanted and that’s what I try to do.

My role as a men­tor is help­ing peo­ple find their place and know they are val­ued, not be­cause of what they have done but for who they are.

I was brought up with the say­ing “If you’ve been given, much is ex­pected of you” and while I never re­ally had a lot of money, I have a re­ally good fam­ily and it’s a joy to give back.

I’ve been a leader on youth camps and those re­la­tion­ships are on­go­ing as I try and help peo­ple deal with the ques­tions of life.

You know you’ve done the job well when those young peo­ple can then of­fer the same sup­port to you.

A char­ter to sup­port women

The Greater Shep­par­ton Women’s Char­ter Al­liance Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee brings to­gether a group of vol­un­teers com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing women to take on lead­er­ship roles.

Rep­re­sent­ing di­verse in­ter­est groups the char­ter mem­bers all have a com­mon goal — to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in de­ci­sion-mak­ing fo­rums in­clud­ing busi­ness or work­place po­si­tions, com­mu­nity groups and boards of man­age­ment.

The com­mit­tee is guided by three prin­ci­ples: di­ver­sity, ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship and gen­der eq­uity and has or­gan­ised sev­eral suc­cess­ful events in­clud­ing In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day cel­e­bra­tions, a movie night for Refugee Week, and a sex­ual ha­rass­ment fo­rum that fea­tured Aus­tralian Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sioner El­iz­a­beth Brod­er­ick as key­note speaker.

Pat Moran (pic­tured left), Margo Koske­lainen (mid­dle) and Be­tul Tuna (right) are three mem­bers of the al­liance who ac­tively men­tor and sup­port women.

Pat Moran, 75, sup­port vol­un­teer

My fam­ily back­ground re­volved around re­spect. I was taught to re­spect my­self, re­spect other peo­ple and we were taught to ex­pect it in re­turn.

In 1979, when I joined the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare as a fam­ily sup­port worker, my out­look broad­ened con­sid­er­ably when I learnt that wasn’t the case for many peo­ple.

I feel priv­i­leged to have walked along­side those par­ents I have worked with, en­cour­ag­ing them to re­spect them­selves and sup­port them in their role in bring­ing up their chil­dren.

Even to­day some of those peo­ple pull me up in the street; in a lot of cases my in­volve­ment in their lives has had a last­ing in­flu­ence.

I have a real pas­sion for fam­ily no mat­ter how it’s made up.

I try to be a men­tor to other women and have en­cour­aged, for some time, women to stand for coun­cil. I’m in­volved in the Women’s Par­tic­i­pa­tion in Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion and work with them to at­tract women, and give them the con­fi­dence to work at the coal face.

I have en­cour­aged and trained women to take on volunteering roles. You get back as much out of volunteering as you give.

Some­thing I am proud of is help­ing women dis­cover strengths they didn’t re­alise they had.

Margo Koske­lainen, 72, in­ter­na­tional soft­ball um­pire ad­min­is­tra­tor

In­ter­na­tion­ally, soft­ball um­pir­ing is a very male-dom­i­nated sport but we have a very strong pro­gram in Aus­tralia. When I re­tired as the Aus­tralian Soft­ball Fed­er­a­tion’s na­tional di­rec­tor of um­pir­ing, 48 per cent of our um­pires were women, the near­est to us was Canada with five per cent fe­male um­pires.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties to men­tor peo­ple come along all the time.

I have trav­elled all over the world and I’ve found that Aus­tralian women are so much more giv­ing of their time to other women than in other coun­tries.

My men­tor­ing in­volves watch­ing the women um­pire, tak­ing notes and then talk­ing to them at the end of the game. I teach them about peo­ple man­age­ment and anger man­age­ment, how to keep con­trol of their emo­tions. But these skills don’t just ap­ply to soft­ball; they are life skills.

The feed­back I get from peo­ple I men­tor is mostly grat­i­tude for the skills they de­velop and the un­der­stand­ing they gain that they can do al­most any­thing.

At the Syd­ney 2000 Olympics we had one Aus­tralian lass um­pir­ing soft­ball and in Bei­jing (China) in 2008 we were the only coun­try to have two fe­male um­pires. See­ing the women suc­ceed is what I get out of men­tor­ing.

Be­tul Tuna, 30, youth leader

Some time ago I no­ticed there were many young women in my com­mu­nity who had fin­ished Year 12 and weren’t re­ally do­ing any­thing. I see un­em­ploy­ment as a gen­er­a­tional thing in some sec­tions of the Turk­ish com­mu­nity and I felt I needed to do some­thing to break that cy­cle.

I started volunteering with the Aus­tralian Nur Cen­tre youth group men­tor­ing the girls, work­ing on per­sonal de­vel­op­ment and help­ing them im­prove their self-es­teem.

The flow-on has seen those girls de­velop the con­fi­dence to re­turn to study or gain em­ploy­ment. They have some di­rec­tion and now see that there are so many choices for them.

The past few years have been dif­fi­cult for me so help­ing these girls has oc­cu­pied my time and also helped me. I’m a sin­gle mother with three chil­dren and I went back to school af­ter 12 years. It can be done.

I am al­most fin­ished my Diploma of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices at TAFE and then I’m plan­ning to study a Bach­e­lor of Arts ma­jor­ing in so­ci­ol­ogy at La Trobe Univer­sity. My aim is to be a so­cial worker.

I can’t solve all the un­em­ploy­ment prob­lems but I can help that one girl who is in front of me.

Ch­eryl Ham­mer, 51, CEO,The Com­mu­nity Fund Goul­burn Val­ley

I sup­pose I fell into men­tor­ing.

When I started our laven­der farm near Dookie I was in­volved with dif­fer­ent com­mit­tees — all tourism fo­cused — and then peo­ple started rec­om­mend­ing me to other peo­ple that had ideas they wanted to de­velop.

Many were home-based busi­nesses, a lot of them started by women at their kitchen ta­bles. For me men­tor­ing was let­ting them dis­cover, through our dis­cus­sions, what they were ca­pa­ble of.

Be­cause I’ve been a jour­nal­ist for three decades I have the con­fi­dence to talk to peo­ple and the skills to re­search. I’ve never been fright­ened to have a go at new ideas and I’ve tried to pass that on.

I love to see peo­ple grow in con­fi­dence and I get a real kick out of them de­vel­op­ing an un­der­stand­ing of where they want to be. It’s fab­u­lous to see growth and self con­fi­dence.

When you are men­tor­ing peo­ple you have to be open and hon­est about what you do and don’t know. You can’t be a closed book. To me men­tor­ing is some­thing you feel, not some­thing you learn to do and it doesn’t have to have a dol­lar value.

I was for­tu­nate to have some good fe­male men­tors when I was younger, I re­mem­ber they were al­ways so giv­ing of their time and them­selves.

Cate Eddy, 54, teacher and net­ball coach

Recog­nis­ing that young peo­ple have po­ten­tial and help­ing them re­alise that po­ten­tial is im­por­tant.

In my work role I love to see young teach­ers de­velop and learn to deal with the many di­verse sit­u­a­tions they en­counter so they too can help other young peo­ple.

Sport is a great out­let for kids, par­tic­u­larly for those who have chal­lenges in their lives. I would hope that through their sport, and learn­ing skills such as team­work and sup­port­ing one another, they will be able to cope with what­ever life throws at them off the court.

One of my proud­est mo­ments was the 2011 GVNL grand fi­nal; my girls were down by 15 at half time and fought back to win. They worked so hard to win that match, not for ev­ery­one else but for each other.

Most peo­ple re­spond well to kind­ness; I try to be ap­proach­able and open to peo­ple and help kids ap­pre­ci­ate that it doesn’t mat­ter what you do as long as you are try­ing to do your best.

When I look back to my (net­ball) play­ing days I re­mem­ber some won­der­ful peo­ple I ad­mired as coaches. I con­sider that I’m re­ally only car­ry­ing on from that and do­ing for oth­ers what has been done for me.

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Holly Curtis

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Holly Curtis

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Julie Mercer

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