RAISE 2021 Evaluation Review

Evaluation Report 2021

Thepowerof showingup raise.org.au

The power of showing up | raise.org.au 1

Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report 2

A note from our Data and Youth Insights Director

For young people in their first years of secondary school in Australia, 2021 presented some familiar challenges as well as some brand new ones.

We know that two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted teenagers’ social activities, their schooling and their wellbeing. We also know that for teens living in families and/or households with vulnerabilities - whether they be financial stress, insecure housing or violence - the added disruption of remote learning and uncertainty has created additional issues. The full impact of the disruption of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns may take many years to fully evidence, particularly for today’s children and young people. At Raise we saw the disruption and challenge firsthand, supporting over 2,120 young people across Australia and providing connection and consistency amidst change and upheaval. We know for some young people in locked down areas, mentoring was one of the few, and sometimes only, school periods they consistently attended. We also know that the volunteer mentors who signed up for mentoring expecting to build an individual connection with a teenager also experienced additional benefits to the ones we see year in and year out at Raise. Mentors told us about looking forward to mentoring each week to connect with their mentee as well as other mentors in their group and their Raise Program Counsellor - in a period where lockdowns limited social interaction. As the majority of Raise programs moved from face-to-face to being delivered online, technology became our source of connection and enabled us to continue the majority of mentoring relationships. However, it also threw into stark relief the compounding impact of disadvantage on reliable and secure access to technology. In some families that did not have suitable devices or not enough devices to go around, young people were unable to participate in mentoring and in some cases also in learning. We also saw that access to consistent data plans and internet connection was a substantial barrier.

Raise delivers early intervention programs in schools in order to support wellbeing teams, build and strengthen school relationships and engagement, and form part of a wider referral system. We know the pandemic has put further pressure on already stretched health systems, particularly in areas outside cities and major regional centres. Early intervention programs are more important than ever to ease this pressure and build help-seeking and social and emotional wellbeing skills in young people at risk of disengagement and crisis. For this reason we are particularly excited by the early findings of our pilot of online only mentoring, which in 2021 included Temora High School in the central west of New South Wales. We can see the power and potential of online mentoring to reach and provide an essential service, a mentor, to young people, who do not have the same access to support as their peers in the cities. In 2022 we will expand into other regional and rural schools and reach more young people in difficult to service areas. From the early days of Raise through to today, evaluation has been integral to designing what we do and improving how we do it, year on year. We have strong internal evaluation and quality assurance processes. In 2022, we will build on these by commissioning a two-year external, independent evaluation of the impact of the Raise program on the young people who participate. The evaluation will be an opportunity to gain independent quality assurance over our evaluation practices and measurement, as well as gain expert insight into the effectiveness of our program. We are excited about the opportunity to build on the learnings and the innovation, borne from the challenges 2021 presented, to ensure our program makes even more of an impact in 2022, working with the young people who need us most. Lucy Snowball

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How we create positive impact for young people and the wider community

Participants

Outcomes

Impact

• Asking for help • Finding trusted adults who can help • Knowledge of resources Mental health support

Social & emotional wellbeing

• Resilience •  Confidence

• Coping strategies • Hope for the future • Awareness of capabilities • Ability to set goals • Ability to achieve goals

Mentees

Young people are able to navigate challenges, believe in themselves and others, and are equipped to shape a purposeful life

School engagement

• School belonging • Better relationships •  Academic confidence • Improved attendance

• Transferable skills • Empathy with young people • Understanding of youth issues • Increase sense of purpose •  More confident mentors in society • More connected generations Mentor outcomes

Mentors

• Increasedcapacity for SchoolWellbeing Teams • Wellbeing needs of students are met • Schools able to meet key Australian Wellbeing Framework objectives School outcomes

Schools

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

Where rigorous evaluation proves and improves the impact we create At Raise, we place young people at the centre of what we do. Capturing and listening to their voices and the voices of their communities is integral to informing our program design and delivery. Each year we conduct a rigorous evaluation to prove and improve the impact of the program, for the young people who participate, the mentees, as well as the schools that host the programs, and the mentors who volunteer with us. We collect data via robust surveys, interviews and focus groups from:

Parents/ carers

Mentees

Schools

Mentors

Our evaluation process enables us to:

Measure the impact of the program

Improve the impact of the program

by using the experiences of participants to inform our continuous improvement

on the outcome areas identified in our Theory of Change

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Raise supports young people across Australia

Raise mentees come to us from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Our mentoring program is suitable for everyone. In 2021 we had 2,124 mentees enrolled in our program. Their average age is 14 and the majority are in years 8 and 9 in high school.

7% identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people 8% are people with disability 13% born outside of Australia

46% female 45% male 9% another option

33% speak a language other than English at home

‘I have panic attacks and talking about it made it easier to be able to overcome them and get over them a little bit quicker than what I used to.’ - Olivia, mentee

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

A diversity of issues

Mentees told us what they want from the program is:

76% A space to be able to talk openly and be listened to 67% Advice and guidance from their mentor 60% Help to set and achieve goals

The most common issues experienced by Raise mentees are:

Suicidal thoughts 27%

Anxiety 68%

Bullying 43%

Depression 42%

Disordered eating 22%

Self-harm 23%

Discrimination 23%

74% of mentees said that the program helped them cope with these issues

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97% of mentees enjoyed the program

78% felt that things were different for them because of the program

94% said they would recommend the program to a friend

Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report 8

We cannot remove the barriers and challenges that young people may experience throughout their adolescence and the rest of their lives. However, our program equips mentees with tools, skills and resources to support their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and engagement with school. Mentees can carry these tools with them long after the program has finished and can draw upon whichever skills they need to tackle whatever life throws at them. Equipping young people with tools and skills they need today and into the future

Hope for the future

Asking for help

Awareness of capabilities

Trusting adults who can help

Ability to set goals

 Knowledge of resources

Ability to achieve goals



Resilience

School engagement

 Confidence

Better relationships



Coping strategies

Academic confidence

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Top 4 outcome areas for young people

Hope for future

Asking for help

Mental Health Support Young people are the least likely of any age group to seek help. Through mentoring, young people have more capability to ask for help and a stronger likelihood of accepting it. They develop trust in adults, improve communication skills, and can find support and resources.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing With higher levels of hope, young people improve socially and academically. They are able to set and achieve goals, and develop a growth mindset with mentor support. Hope is a buffer against stress, anxiety and suicide ideation.

School belonging

Resilience

Social and Emotional Wellbeing Mentoring improves a young person’s ability to bounce back after stress and enhances recovery. Mentors help young people to increase confidence, adapt to new situations, develop coping skills to deal with adversity, and overcome challenges.

School Engagement Through mentoring, young people improve their relationship with peers and teachers. Mentees attend school more, resulting in increased grades, higher school completion rates, stronger academic confidence and better economic outcomes.

Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report 10

Highlighting the 2021 results across these areas

9 out of 10 improved in at least 1 of the 4 outcome areas

More than half improved in at least 2 outcome areas

1 out of 5 improved in 3 or all outcome areas

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A deeper dive into our Mental Health Support outcomes

Asking for help

Mentees made statistically significant improvements in:   ability to ask for help ~

 ability to trust adults who can help #~  knowledge of where to seek help ~  number of supports they can turn to for help ~ # achieved for the whole cohort ~ achieved for mentees with low scores at the start of the program

‘This program saved my son, he is suffering frommental health issues that we as a family were unaware, having his mentor he was comfortable to open up and speak about something so serious, we are grateful this program exists, please don’t stop.’ - John, parent

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

75% of school staff noticed an improvement in students’ ability to ask for help

78% of mentors noticed an improvement in their mentee’s ability to ask for help

Increased number of supports they can turn to for help

Improved help-seeking skills for more than 30% of mentees

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A deeper dive into our Social and Emotional Wellbeing outcomes

Mentees in the program saw a statistically significant improvement in their resilience #~ , confidence ~ , and belief in their ability to cope ~ . This means they are better able to adapt and cope with new situations and deal with challenges and adversity.

Resilience

58%  ofmentees said they felt better about themselves because of the program 67%  of mentors noticed an improvement in their mentee’s ability to cope 75%  of mentors felt that their mentee’s confidence improved  Schools staff also noticed improvements in: • students’ confidence 86%

• ability to cope 74% • and resilience 79%

# achieved for the whole cohort ~ achieved for mentees with low scores at the start of the program

‘It has helped give me more insight on life situations and how to cope.’ – Coen, Mentee

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

Raise mentees saw a statistically significant improvement in their hope for the future ~ , which buffers against stress, anxiety and suicidality. Hope improves problem solving and goal setting, and means that our mentees are better able to cope with challenges that arise.

Hope for future

 Mentees also saw a significant improvement in awareness of their capabilities ~ (growth mindset) which is associated with achievement and goal setting and protects against anxiety 67%  of mentees set a goal, and over 90% achieved or partly achieved their goal. They also saw significant improvements in ratings of their ability to set ~ and achieve goals #~ . 67%  of mentors felt that their mentee improved in their ability to set and achieve goals 67%  of school staff members surveyed also noticed an improvement in students’ ability to set and achieve goals

‘My mentee has been empowered to speak up and have a voice. They have gained resilience and inner strength to make decisions that are best for their wellbeing.’ -Chris, Mentor

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A deeper dive into our School Engagement outcomes

Mentees in the Raise program saw statistically significant improvements in school engagement outcomes including:   self-rated attendance # ~ and grades ~   school belonging ~   relationships with friends ~ and teachers # ~ . Mentees also had statistically significant improvements in:   their belief in their ability to finish school ~   and find employment ~ . # achieved for the whole cohort ~ achieved for mentees with low scores at the start of the program

School belonging

‘It’s a very fun environment to be in and I look forward to coming to school on Tuesday, just so I can see my mentor.’ - Mentee

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

‘They started coming to school regularly, improved their confidence, learned to speak up and express their thoughts and views without hesitation... Two mentees who were shy and quiet turned to be relaxed, happy, smiley faces.’ – Mentor

‘I have been able to talk in front of a class without getting so stressed out.’ – Nicole, Mentee

Approximately 50% of the mentors noticed an improvement in their mentees’ relationships at school (friends, teachers) and their confidence in their ability to finish school and find employment. School staff noticed improvements in school engagement for students in the Raise program, even in a COVID year, including:

50% Attendance 67% School relationships 51% Classroom engagement 54% Leadership qualities

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2,007 volunteers signed up to mentor a young person with Raise in 2021. Similar to Raise mentees, mentors come from a range of backgrounds and bring varied experiences and expertise to the role. Volunteer mentors: Raise volunteer mentors come to us to make a difference

75% female, 25% male and <1% other/ non-binary

29% speak a language other than English

35% born outside of Australia

Ranged from 20 to 80+ years old

Average age of 45

4% are people with disability

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

And see differences in themselves

Raise mentees aren’t the only ones who get something out of participating in the mentoring program; our mentors consistently tell us about a range of benefits that they experience. They are often surprised at how much they get out of the experience, and how they can take these skills into other parts of their lives. Raisementors saw statistically significant improvements in their:

Confidence in their ability to mentor a young person outside of Raise

Understanding of youth issues

Empathy for young people

This means that Raise mentors will be more comfortable starting conversations and checking in with young people in their lives, and better equipped to support them in the face of challenges. These outcomes help contribute to our broader goal of creating thriving communities.

‘It has made me much more appreciative of being a teenager and am engaging with my own child in a more empathetic and understanding way.’ - Pia, Mentor

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A deeper dive into mentor outcomes

Other benefits that Raise mentors experience include:

98% Improved listening and communication skills

94% Increased likelihood of volunteering in future 93% Increased empathy 88% Improved connection with the community 87% Improved mental health literacy 72% Increased social networks 68% Improved relationships with family/friends 60% Improved parenting skills 96% A sense of contribution to my community

10% of mentors volunteer with Raise as part of a student placement for their university course, and some outcomes they experience include: 96%  Improved mental health literacy 94%  Improved leadership skills 92%  Skills to help with finding employment

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

Corporate mentor outcomes

8% of mentors volunteer with Raise through their workplaces, who partner with Raise as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), ESG or community involvement strategy. The benefits of this for organisations include a decrease in employee turnover and an increase in employee engagement and commitment. Benefits that Raise corporate mentors experience include:

96% Felt a sense of pride in my employer for partnering with Raise

78% Improved leadership skills 67%More likely to staywithmy employer 65% Increased engagement at work 62% Increased networks inmy organisation 85% Able to apply mentoring skills in my workplace

‘Mainly it’s been a great reminder that everyone has different perspectives, challenges and priorities. I feel like this reminder has helped me be more empathetic at work and with friends and family.’ – Bradley, Mentor

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This year, we delivered 155 programs in 131 schools across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. Working with school partners to deliver successful mentoring programs

‘During a time when students felt isolated - this program provided additional support and gave our students a wider net of people they could talk to.’ – Michael, school contact

Our reach

96% would recommend the program to another school

97% of schools asked for the program again in 2022

92% of respondents rated the Raise Program Counsellors as 5 stars!

72% rated the program as excellent, and 26% rated it as very good

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Raise Foundation | 2021 Evaluation Report

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