Creating bright VCE STAAs

AYI co-founder and chief executive Robiel Abraham. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Liam McNally

Melton’s African Youth Initiative (AYI) has launched a new program to help young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds develop the tools they need to succeed in VCE.

AYI’s Someone To Aspire After (STAA) program provides free monthly group mentoring sessions for students delivered by high-achieving past VCE students.

Chelsea Marangu is a mentor who graduated from MacKillop College in Werribee last year with an ATAR of 90.9. She said mentoring with STAA since its launch in January has felt like a massive achievement.

“I think so many of the failures in the education system at the moment are due to African students not seeing teachers and role models that look like them, so me being involved in a mentorship program is my way of providing them with a role model,” she said.

AYI has hosted two STAA session at the Tarneit Community Learning Centre with high school mentees from Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank, and even the south-east suburbs, which the program intends on expanding into next.

AYI co-founder and chief executive Robiel Abraham said the response has been really positive from students and community members so far.

“The students said they’ve never been taught this way at their school, it’s been really positive,” he said.

“Coming to a new country it’s hard to see people like yourself in certain positions. This program shows there are young African students who have performed really well in their studies and you can be just like them,” he said.

“We’re primarily targeting the African community but it’s open to people from all backgrounds.”

Mr Abraham said STAA currently has eight mentors, who all received ATARs of more than 90, and their is currently plenty of room for more students to join the sessions.

“We want to make a student community that’s inclusive and can encourage students to connect with each other and spur each other on. We love seeing the success of the students… it’s so important to us,” he said.

The next session will be held in Tarneit from noon-4pm.

Details: @AYI_Melbourne on Instagram.