Volunteers needed to accelerate young drivers' dreams
DEMAND is accelerating but a lack of volunteer mentors has put the brakes on growth of the Gold Coast's PCYC Braking the Cycle program.
Coast BTC co-ordinator Courtney Muldoon said the program had 112 young people working towards gaining their driving licence and another 180 on the waiting list. But the program's pool of 15 volunteers could only do so much.
"They are the loveliest people and making a massive difference to these young people in building the basic structure of good, safe driving practices as well as building their confidence in driving and in life," Courtney said.
BTC supports learner drivers who don't have access to a supervisor or a registered vehicle to complete their required 100 logbook hours of practical driving. Not having a licence can mean they are cut off from training or employment opportunities, and the chance to take part in community and sporting activities.
"A good proportion of our volunteers are retired; our oldest mentor is 88," Courtney said.
"They find they have the time and want to give back to the community in some way."
Volunteers are trained by the PCYC and just need to be good, experienced drivers, have their licence, a love for young people and a desire to help them succeed. Don't worry, it's not your car on the line!
The PCYC has three dedicated training cars at Nerang, Broadbeach and Elanora, available approximately 6am-9pm weekdays. Courtney said young participants can approach the PCYC themselves or be referred by other agencies.
"Our aim is to break down whatever barriers are standing in their way - whether it's mental health, distance, finances, family breakdown or access to a car - and help put them in the frame of mind to succeed," she said.
"We have a number of young mums who need to get their driving licence so they can get their kids to school and to medical appointments."
Each participant is matched with a specific volunteer who will best suit their needs and with whom they can build a relationship.
"Having someone who cares about them can really change young people's perceptions of themselves, where they are going, and help them set goals," Courtney said.
For volunteers, as well as the feeling of accomplishment in helping the young person to get ahead, there's also the chance to interact with other mentors, with regular workshops and activities on offer and free access to PCYC programs.
"Whether you've just got one hour or eight hours a week to spare, you can make a difference in someone's life," Courtney said.
If you are interested in becoming a Braking the Cycle volunteer mentor, contact Courtney at courtney.muldoon@pcyc .org.au or phone Nerang PCYC on 55782227.