Connect With Your Community

You Don’t Need to Wear a Cape to be a Pilbara Mentor

Pilbara mentor Leanne Ruston, liaison officer Kay Corda and mentor Amy Brothers.

Pilbara Mentors may not be superheroes, but there is no doubt they have the capacity to change a young person’s life for the better.

The Pilbara Mentors program connects volunteers with students at various Hedland primary schools and Hedland Senior High School who are struggling to reach their potential.

What do you need to become a Pilbara Mentor?

“All you need is the drive to change a young person’s life, and to ‘show up’,” says Kay Corda, liaison officer for the Pilbara Mentors program.

Kay manages the local group of volunteers and ensures successful delivery of the Pilbara Mentors program. The project, which is delivered by EdConnect Australia, is initiated and funded by the Roy Hill Community Foundation.

The Foundation is a charity made up of 12 companies who all contribute funding and participate in the programs. Foundation director Jeanette Hasleby says: “A mentor can be that important person outside family and friends that a child or young person can talk to and relate to.”

Kay manages the local group of volunteers and ensures successful delivery of the Pilbara Mentors program. The initiative is supported by the Roy Hill Community Foundation and delivered by EdConnect Australia.

“A mentor is a reliable, adult role model who uses their life experiences and listening skills to support a student who is at risk of not achieving their educational potential,” Kay says.

Mentors provide one-on-one support to a student for one hour, once a week during school hours.

“It’s the student’s one hour where they let their guard down and get to pick any activity that they wish to do. You could be chatting away one week or teaching or learning a board game the next. Baking cookies, gardening or playing basketball during their mentoring hour. What you may consider basic life and social skills could be life-changing for a young person,” Kay says.

Each mentor approaches the role in a different way and adapts their method to suit the student. Arrangements can be made for mentors who do shift work or work at a remote site, but the underlying principle is that there is consistent support.

Business owner and long-standing Pilbara Mentor Gary Silcock says: “I enjoy talking to the kids and trying to find what and if they have any problem that I can help them overcome and to lead them in the right direction for the future they hope to achieve for themselves. I find what they are having trouble with, whether it is spelling, reading, bullying, sport, etc, and give them projects to carry out that may help them overcome the problem and guide them through it and keep them happy doing it, make them feel like they are helping you make them OK.”

Another Pilbara Mentor, Paul Leaver, says: “I have been blessed. I have a wonderful family, beautiful children. I would love to give back to the community, contributing in some small way to help shape a young person’s future. Sometimes a positive word, a small bit of advice or simply a different perspective can help kids see things in a different light.”

Pamela Charlesworth, who is semi-retired, says she is passionate about children having as many opportunities as possible through education, creativity and sporting activities.

“I feel that children gain so much from a mentor friend calling in. They look forward to that one-on-one time,” Pamela says. “I gain so much from building a relationship with my mentee in that she has gained trust in me to teach me new board games which led to much laughter and insights to her literacy skill set. Together we found healthy recipes and began cooking in the school kitchen. I enjoy observing her joy in learning and creating and sharing her creativity.”

Matthew Kiosoglous, who works at Roy Hill, says he feels lucky to be in a position where he can mentor others and give back to the community.

“I continue to mentor to be able to make a difference to a young person, we were all young once,” he says. “During my mentoring hour, we share stories about fishing, camping, cars and motorbikes.”

Anyone interested in joining the Pilbara Mentors program can learn more by contacting EdConnect Australia on 1800 668 550 or email:

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