WA Mentor of the Year Award for 2022 announced
EdConnect Australia announced Busselton local Malcolm Jennings as the winner of the 2022 WA Mentor of the Year Award held on 22 March 2023 in Maylands.
Malcolm was one of four winners selected from 892 WA volunteers who provided 1,040 hours of support each week to 10,354 students throughout WA in 2022.
“There are many volunteers who deserve recognition for mentoring and supporting students, and choosing just ONE WINNER for each volunteer award was extremely challenging. That they have been nominated is a significant testament to their efforts,” says Gerri Clay, CEO EdConnect Australia.
Malcolm has been volunteering at Vasse Primary School (WA) for an incredible 20 years, since 2003 and has helped so many students. He is a great role model and does a massive range of activities with the students, including cooking, model ship building and erecting homes for possums.
“Just simply by meeting with Malcolm every week, the student’s confidence and self-esteem seems to be building which is fantastic for those kids that don’t have that reliable person consistently in their life. They then get that person who turns up every single week; they get an extra person that makes them feel special, and they can rely upon them to be there,” says Vasse Primary School Principal, Amy Sefton.
The annual EdConnect Australia WA Volunteer Awards recognises and celebrates the outstanding commitment and passion of EdConnect Australia volunteers to school students across WA.
“I enjoy being a mentor at Vasse and love the school as it is such a welcoming environment. The Principal and staff at Vasse are very supportive of the EdConnect mentoring program, which, I think, is very important (vital even),” shares Malcolm.
Malcolm also received a special long-service certificate for 20 years of volunteering at Vase Primary School.
"Several years ago at Vasse Primary School in Busselton, I was helping a teacher in a class of about 25 Year 2 children. At the end of my time with the class, the teacher asked all the children to write a thank you letter to me. The letters were, in most cases, both funny and heart-warming, and I decided to keep them,” shared Malcolm.
This is Malcolm’s story: https://youtu.be/tpuZxiGjdk8
The event was attended by 70+ local WA volunteers, member school representatives, stakeholders, staff and Board of EdConnect Australia and the following dignitaries: Ms Meredith Hammat MLA, Member for Mirrabooka and Parliamentary Secretary, representing the Minister for Education and Training; Hon Donna Faragher MLC, Shadow Minister for Community Services, Early Childhood Learning, Youth, Seniors, and Ageing; Cr Steven Ostaszewskyj from the City of Bayswater.
Editor’s Notes: About EdConnect Australia
• The EdConnect Australia story began more than 25 years ago with four volunteers in one Perth school. The program now operates in WA, Victoria and NSW with around 900 volunteers in 250 schools. EdConnect volunteers work in local schools with young people who might otherwise struggle to realise their potential in school and in life.
• This year, EdConnect Australia is celebrating two and half decades of 25 years of helping students thrive.
• EdConnect Australia urgently needs more volunteers to support vulnerable students. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted volunteering in schools; the demand from schools for volunteers providing 1-1 mentoring or learning support to an entire classroom could not be met, highlighting the potential risk of teacher fatigue and overwhelming them.
• Feedback from teachers about the program’s impact on students is very positive, with more than 94% of teachers supporting the volunteering program at their school. 92% of teachers state that EdConnect provides useful guidance and support throughout the school year. Almost 100% of teachers agree that EdConnect is valuable to the school community.