Students Strive for a bright future

Pete Raidme with Crystal – a past student on the Kokoda program who now works on the welfare team at Newcomb Secondary and is helping to run the sessions for STRIVE.
Pete Raidme with Crystal – a past student on the Kokoda program who now works on the welfare team at Newcomb Secondary and is helping to run the sessions for STRIVE.

Peter Raidme believes in young people. As the Head of Student Wellbeing at Surf Coast Secondary College, he sees students challenge themselves, grow and become role models to others every year.

But Peter knows that support, connection, and a sense of achievement are essential for teens to thrive, which is why he is a proud advocate for a new program offering support to young people who have challenges such as truancy, drug or alcohol abuse, family violence, or mental health issues.

STRIVE is a new program run by Geelong Youth Engagement. It was developed to support ‘at-risk’ teens who miss out on a place in the organisation’s highly-successful Geelong Kokoda Youth Program.

STRIVE sees selected students undertake weekly group physical activities, along with personal goal setting sessions and the opportunity to meet with professionals who can support their current challenges and give positive guidance into the future. The program has been implemented thanks to a 2021 Geelong Community Foundation P500 grant of $68,000.

Peter, who was recently awarded the Blue Ribbon Foundation Community Service Award by Geelong Youth Engagement, says STRIVE is so important for students because it gives them a real sense of achievement by completing the sessions.

“It also gives the students a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them, as well as developing their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth,” he explains. “It broadens their horizons and allows them to make incredibly valued connections in various networks.”

For Peter, the most memorable aspect of the STRIVE program so far has been observing the personal growth of each of the students and seeing their commitment to the program.

“Some travel from as far as Werribee to be involved in these exciting and valuable activities,” Peter says. “They truly love and benefit from being exposed to some brilliant guest speakers who are also outstanding role models.

“Every student benefits from this program because of the opportunity to grow as young adults.”

When Peter sees what young people today are capable of, he’s not worried about their future.

“I know for sure that the world is in great hands,” he says. “And programs like STRIVE are just going to make that world even better.”

Words MIRANDA LUBY