Mentors wanted for Smith Family’s iTrack program

04-11-16 Pic of Samadhi Kodikara. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

As a child, Samadhi Kodi was brought up to believe education was the key that opened doors in life.

Now, the 41-year-old Werribee resident is helping to impart that wisdom to teens who may not have had the same level of support or encouragement.

Ms Kodi volunteers with The Smith Family’s iTrack program, which offers career guidance and advice to students in years 9 to 11.

The volunteers, who are matched with a student with similar career interests, spend one hour a week for a semester taking part in an online chat, where they can provide guidance, advice and encouragement on work, study and career opportunities.

Ms Kodi, who is an IT project manager, has been part of the program for the past three years, and said it can make a big impact.

“Both of my parents are teachers – and education’s been part of my life as I grew up, but that’s not the case for everybody,” she said.

“It’s really, really rare for a child to use their own willpower to get to where they want to be.

“They say it takes a village to bring up a child, so any help you can give does help a kid get to where they want to be. I have been so fortunate in my life, and I believe in paying it forward.”

Lauren Stocker from The Smith Family said the iTrack program, developed more than a decade ago, shows many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face barriers that make it difficult for them to complete year 12.

The Smith Family needs 1500 new volunteer mentors by Christmas – details here