By Tom McNish
GETTING to school can be the hardest part of the day for some kids, but for students of FLOW (Flexible Learning Options Wonthaggi), volunteer drivers have made getting to class a lot easier.
Volunteer drivers and mentors Sophie Lamberton and Kathryn Stamp drive the sweeping Bass Coast route from Cowes to Newhaven, Grantville and into Wonthaggi twice a week, picking up and dropping off students.
Program coordinator Paul Fawcett said simply getting to school removed a barrier for the students.
“We’re very thankful for Bass Coast and the YMCA. We’d love to see this ongoing,” Paul said of the volunteer driver program.
The volunteer drivers say it’s a bit like a mini road trip that leaves them both feeling connected to the community.
Sophie said it’s a good chance to give back.
“At the start, we were a little scared, but the kids are very open and the conversations are flowing.”
Sophie and Kathryn saw the volunteer role advertised on Facebook.
Kathryn said the ‘Accidental Counselling’ course helped her prepare.
“We went through interviews and did a short course, but basically, we just drive the kids to school, we can even stop for a coffee if the kids want,” Kathryn said.
“We want to show the kids that the community is here to help them. We’re in it for the long haul,” she said.
Student Blake Marchetta appreciates the ride.
“It definitely makes getting to school easier. It’s less daunting then buses or public transport,” Blake said.
The program is funded by Bass Coast Health via School Focused Youth Services and directed by the YES Youth Hub.
The FLOW program has been running for two years and was previously ran at the Wonthaggi North Primary School.