Sammy D Foundation

16 May 2023

The Sammy D Foundation mentoring program pairs a young person experiencing some level of disadvantage with a compatible local mentor. This mentor will support the young person through a stable, trusting, and ongoing relationship with a positive adult role model to learn new skills, participate in a range of pro-social activities, and personal plan and support to achieve personal goals with a focus on the reduction of identified risk factors and building of known protective factors.

A person standing in front of a brick wall. A quote reads: "Mentoring is about building a safe and trusting relationship for a young person to thrive." The quote is attributed to Jessie, a Youth Mentor at the Sammy D Foundation.

Young people with limited or no access to a positive adult role model in their lives are more likely to:

  • Become involved in criminal activity

  • Become involved in drug and alcohol abuse

  • Have low levels of education engagement and/or leave school early

  • And are likely to have poor relationships with teachers and family.

1 in 3 young people will grow up without a mentor

The Morialta Charitable Trust has funded the expansion of Sammy D’s Community Mentoring program into the Adelaide Hills so they can reach these two key areas where there is a pressing community need:

Mount Barker

Recognised as one of South Australia’s fasting growing populations, Mount Barker has growth rates up to three times higher than the amount for the entire state. Given that there is a higher proportion of people in the younger age group (under 15) compared to Greater Adelaide, with the number almost doubling from 2015 to 2026 (ABS), there is huge pressure on the existing services in the area, with a distinct lack of youth specific programs available.

Murray Bridge

While it has an older population, there is still 15% of the Murray Bridge population aged between 12 and 25. The area has a high level of disadvantage as it has a higher than average Indigenous population at around 4.6% and is ranked significantly lower on the SEIFA index than Mount Barker and the State as a whole.

Program Plans

The funding for this project aims to:

  • Recruit and train 15 mentors

  • Provide mentor support to 20 young people

  • Have 80% of participants successfully complete their mentoring

  • Have 80% of participants recorded a positive change in their well-being on exiting the program

Status to Date

Since receiving the funding in January, Sammy D have:

  • Recruited a new Education and Mentoring Coordinator for the Hills region, Morgyn

  • Morgyn has built relationships in the two communities with members and organisations such as Headspace, Community Centres, schools, and the local councils.

  • Anecdotal referrals for at least 10 young people waiting for our applications to open

  • Recruited three mentors confirmed, including Mount Barker Butcher, Wilson Lowe 

Wilson says: “Giving back to society and the local community is important to me. I want to be able to support and have a positive impact on our youth. Being involved in mentoring can not only have an immediate positive impact, but can benefit generations to come, which is a legacy I want to be part of. As a mentor I hope to make the most of my own life experience to provide a listening ear, understanding and encouragement for a young person in our community.”