EdConnect volunteer Bill Smith with student and mentee Joshua.

Bill awarded volunteer ‘mentor of the year’

EdConnect chief executive officer says the awards recognise the dedication of more than 600 volunteers in school across Western Australia.
April 11, 2024

MEETING EdConnect 2023 ‘mentor of the year’ award recipient volunteer Bill Smith at his placement school, Kalamunda Senior High School, it is immediately apparent how highly regarded he is – by teaching and administration staff and by students.

In 2023, over three days each week, Mr Smith mentored multiple teenage boys some of who live in foster care; while others just need an alternative and consistent adult in their lives.

His commitment to each of these students is extraordinary. His direct influence now will without doubt shape the future of these young people, building a platform for growth and an altered life trajectory.

“My mentoring is focused primarily on promoting caring, loving and respectful teenage boys on their journey to adulthood. My life as the eldest of seven children of migrant parents, as a proud father of three amazing offspring and grandfather of seven beautiful humans, combined with widely diverse life experiences, has, I believe, served me well in mentoring,” Mr Smith said.

On his fourth day of volunteering, he works along students in the school’s artificial intelligence and robotics classes, as previously reported in Passion for mentoring youth (Echo News, May 12, 2023).

The students speak proudly of their incredible prize-winning achievements, and their respect for Mr Smith is palpable.

And with the time left in his school day, Mr Smith works with the school’s ‘spectrum group’, an LGBTQI+ support group.

Proudly gay, he speaks openly about his experience as a young man.

“I’m privileged to be able to play a small part in supporting the safety and well-being of the students at Kalamunda Senior High School,” he said.

The annual EdConnect Australia Volunteer Awards is an event to celebrate the extraordinary volunteer effort which is the lifeblood of EdConnect Australia – with volunteers giving their time to the education and learning of primary and secondary students in Western Australia.

EdConnect chief executive officer Michael Pailthorpe expressed his gratitude towards all EdConnect volunteers, emphasising the vital role they play in supporting students, teachers and schools in Western Australia.

“The annual awards acknowledge and celebrate the dedication and commitment of more than 600 volunteers in 176 schools in Western Australia who provide vital mentoring and learning support to over 10,000 young people,” he said.

To view Mr Smith’s video go here.

For more information about the EdConnect volunteering opportunities see this website, contact edconnect@ed
connect.org.au or call 1800 668 550.

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