The YEP (Youth Empowerment Program) is in its third year at Staughton College. In this time we have seen the program develop and make a significant contribution to life at the college.
The overall focus of the program is to increase the positive wellbeing and the resilience of the students attending the college.
This year we have seen the ‘buddy system’ come to full fruition. This means that all year seven students have an older buddy coming from the year nines.
These older buddies have run workshops, assisted with literacy programs and begun to develop an anti bullying agreement and activities to promote the sense of safety security of students in the college.
All of these programs are developed and designed by the students and run by the students to promote their own sense of leadership and ownership of the college.
Involvement in YEP for students has lead to students having the opportunity to attend student leadership conferences in Canberra, Sydney and Bendigo. Staughton is considered a leading light in running effective YEP systems in the state. This has contributed to Staughton College being recognised as a Mind Matters school, we are only one of a few state schools to gain this recognition.
The core leadership team, along with the Student Leadership team, has begun to work collaboratively with the Student Management team and Curriculum planning teams. This has allowed the YEP students to influence and advice across a broad spectrum of aspects of the school community from curriculum through to student welfare and management issues. Primarily the YEP program has worked within a Buddy system structure whereby the YEP students are trained to act as mentors for younger incoming students. This allows for the first port of call for students to be a fellow student who can refer and advise the younger students as to the means of resolving any issue.
The training revolves around the MindMatters setup, including four day MindMatters workshops, and is supported by the school counsellors. The program being developed will be incorporated into the school curriculum at year 7 next year as well as in careers sessions at the higher year levels. This will allow a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. This approach will also compliment the schools continued journey into positive educational outcomes.