An opportunity to help young parents feel more connected, supported and empowered is now available through the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre’s Bay Families program.

Bay Families is seeking volunteers to become Parent Mentors. The mentors will work closely with young parents up to 25 years old (including teen parents) to provide emotional and practical support, and basic parenting advice.

Coordinator Ruth Huber said it was a chance to give young parents a positive role model they may otherwise be lacking.

“A lot of young parents who are vulnerable and disadvantaged feel judged,” Ruth said.

“We have high rates of teenagers becoming parents on the Fraser Coast, compared with the rest of Queensland.

“Because of social issues like low income, mental health and addiction, it’s even harder to get out and connect with people.

“They don’t go to the average playgroup because they don’t fit in, they get judged, so they become even more isolated. This is what we’re hearing from the young parents we’re working with.”

Bay Families coordinator, Ruth Huber

Ruth said Parent Mentors would be fully supported and trained and would not be expected to take on any complex case management work.

Their role would be to provide a sounding board, share parenting stories and provide basic support. Mentoring sessions would be organised once a week.

She said parenting experience was essential, but mentors did not have to have their own children to qualify.

“It could be someone who has helped raise nieces and nephews or has gained parenting experience and insight in some other way,” Ruth said.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Parent Mentor, email bayfamilies[email protected] or call 4194 3000.