The School Volunteer Program (now known as Ed-Connect) engaged The Nexus Network to undertake a review of the impact and effectiveness of its school-based mentoring program. The program sought to support students in danger of disengaging from their school or school work and, through a caring and supportive relationship with a mentor, find a friend and a positive focus for their life. Our evaluation was based on data collected from a variety of sources such as structured interviews with students, school principals, mentors, parents and others, an online survey for students, focus groups of mentors and staff of the School Volunteer Program, and other government and community members. Data from several sources was also analysed using a thematic issues approach.
The evaluation found the program to be highly worthwhile, but also identified a number of opportunities to improve the program’s effectiveness and efficiency. The Board of the School Volunteer Program endorsed the program and used it to inform decisions about the Program’s future. The organisation subsequently amalgamated with Ed-Connect Australia and continues to deliver valuable mentoring services to improve the lives of vulnerable students. Following the review, The Nexus Network was engaged to provide additional consulting services to the Board, reflecting the high esteem in which our advice was held.