Helping young people journey to independence
Clare* is a young mum of two living in the regional Victorian town of Morwell.
She has faced many challenges throughout her life. Sadly, her mother passed away when Clare was only a teenager; this not only meant that she had to learn how to live independently at a young age, but also that she would have more caring responsibilities with her four younger siblings.
A few years later, Clare became a mother to her first child. During her second pregnancy, she was experiencing her own health complications when her eldest had to be unexpectedly hospitalised. These events put great pressure on Clare, both financially and emotionally.
While supporting her siblings and her own children, paying for professional driving lessons was out of her reach. After paying for essentials like food and school supplies, there wasn’t any additional money left over.
Clare’s other family members didn’t have the capacity or resources to teach her how to drive.
Clare first heard about the L2P program through a local support service. Offered through Berry Street, L2P is a volunteer-supported program that helps learner drivers get the 120 driving hours needed for a probationary licence.
The challenges of looking after so many children in a regional area had become overwhelming; Clare knew that having a licence would bring her more independence and the ability to get around without relying on public transport or family. Clare’s strongest motivation was the desire to support her family.
Clare drove regularly with her mentor, Jodie, throughout her time in L2P and took every opportunity to gain experience.
“Clare displays such resilience. She is a funny, caring and generous young woman. I really enjoyed her company and have many fond memories of the hours we spent together. It was such a rewarding experience: as a mentor I looked forward to our drives, l learnt to be persistent and to never give up,” Jodie recalls.
Clare was thrilled when she obtained her probationary licence last year! Now that Clare can get to health appointments with ease and run day-to-day errands (like school pick up and drop off), she feels better able to support her young family.
To show her appreciation, Clare gave Jodie a card and a gift for the support she had provided. They built a strong bond and are still in regular contact with each other.
Clare’s experience was so positive that her younger sister is also learning how to drive through L2P!
Having a driver’s licence is something many of us take for granted. For young people in regional areas, the freedom that driving brings often means they can continue studying and maintain their jobs.
Do you live in Morwell or Shepparton and want to give back to your local community? The L2P program relies on the support of volunteers. Mentoring is a fantastic way of connecting with others and making a difference in the lives of young people.
*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.