46. Expansion plans – doing the hard yards!!

I am also at the point where we have to kickstart a major campaign to raise funds if we wish to see GR8 MATES going beyond the pilot stage. It is a tough call, as the demand for mentors of these young people is considerably greater than many people realise. And, as the economy starts slowing down and parents experience more problems paying the mortgage, people are made redundant etc., this, too will impact on these young lives. Australia has been experiencing boom times in recent years. One is not allowed to mention the words ‘ possible recession’, but I am a realist and I can already see the signs – people battling to meet mortgage payments, more smaller businesses closing down, others cutting back their workforce or not employing new staff when others leave etc. Western Sydney, where GR8 MATES operates, is an area with many, many of these battlers. In addition, each time I enter schools to give presentations on career topics, as well as to supervise the mentoring programs, I am struck by the number of young people clearly lacking significant adults in their lives, parents with effective parenting skills etc. and this is becoming quite a burden. So if we can create an army of trained volunteer adult mentors, we will be able to encourage more and more young people to keep going after their dreams, learning how to make some sacrifices to reach these dreams, understanding the need to work hard and to keep on keeping on and so much more.

The Steering Committee is coming together slowly but surely and I expect things to kick in once I return from leave in mid-July. All I do know is that I am reaching the limit of what I can realistically be expected to do if we want to run a quality program.

I spent part of Friday sending out Query letters to organisations, businesses, Foundations etc. just to find out whether or not they would even consider an application. My thinking is that if the application stands to gain about $1,000 it might not be worthwhile completing the Application forms. This is because it takes a couple of hours each time at least to complete these forms and one has more than a 50% chance of being rejected – how to manage one’s time effectively remains the challenge.

Somehow I have to galvanise people to get behind GR8 MATES and am keen to work with a team of people to achieve this.