Amanda Barnes: Top Blokes Foundation
Amanda plans to reach out to blokes across Australia
Amanda Barnes has already helped many young men cope with difficult feelings through her mentoring work at the Top Blokes Foundation.
But she has big plans to reach out to thousands more by developing an online version of the foundation’s social education and mentoring program.
Amanda is a part-time youth worker with the foundation and facilitates mentoring sessions in schools and the community to help disconnected and vulnerable young men, providing guidance and a safe space that encourages communication.
She says the male suicide rate is much higher than for females, so these sorts of education programs are truly needed.
“At the moment we are in three regions around Sydney, but if we had an online program, we could reach young men who can’t physically attend the mentoring program face-to-face,” Amanda says.
“So long as they have access to a smartphone or computer, they can log in and take part in interactive webinars each week.”
Amanda also works at Platform Youth Services, which helps children aged 12 to 14 who are homeless or at risk.
In addition, she does hours of volunteer work with Rotary International each week.
“It’s humbling to be named as a Westfield Local Hero, but recognition is not why we do this work,” she says.
“We do it to give these young men someone to talk to, to connect with and to feel supported by.
“It’s also such a privilege to work with these young people who have been through so much yet still have an amazing attitude and determination.”
The Top Blokes Foundation plans to use the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to further investigate options for providing the courses online as well as creating additional face-to-face programs.