58. Potential dangers of a government funded program

I have written before that GR8 MATES is linked to a federal funded not-for-profit organisation. In one month our two other pilot programs will be completed.

I am also experiencing the perennial difficulty of recruiting volunteers for another program, mainly because the mentoring program is only part of my job and also because I haven’t really had enough time to recruit these volunteers. The school at which we are completing a pilot wants us to run another program next year. So, the idea is to train the mentors before the end of the year, match them and then they will be ready to begin the journey in February 2009.

Thus far three of the current crop of mentors have indicated that they would like to continue next year and I have about six or eight others interested, though none of these have completed Application Forms yet. I will do some phoning on Monday and Tuesday next week, but if I don’t have 10 – 15 mentors for the program, I won’t go ahead at the moment.

What this could mean, though, is that we will not be able to launch another program until we know whether or not we will be receiving more funding beyond 2009. Our Federal Government has changed, the economy is being hit by the world global recession – is one allowed to use that word? – so the government might decide our programs should be cut. It would be shooting itself in the foot, as we are working at skilling Australia, which is one of their election platforms. However, with all that they know about youth mentoring at the moment, we are justified to feel worried.

Had we been able to access the status that allows us to seek funders from the corporate world and philanthropists etc., which has a special tax break for the donors, we might already be in a position to be self-sustaining. However, as I have mentioned in previous Blogs, it’s like climbing Mount Everest.

The next two weeks will be interesting.

Schools open again on Monday and our three programs get under way 🙂