C.O.A.C.H. is a community project that aims to strengthen families through facilitating emotional, economic, social and spiritual growth. C.O.A.C.H. assists families with children under 12 at risk of isolation, conflict, addiction, poverty or other social problems. The focus is on helping families by improving their life skills, their connection with the community and their health & well-being in order to prevent child abuse, family breakdown and educational failure.
How does it work?
Families are carefully matched with a volunteer — Their Coach. The Coach listens, provides advocacy and offers practical help and advice to guide the family and aid them in assessing and achieving their life goals.
Coaching is a way to bring out the best in people and help them to make use of their own resources. Families engage in fun activities to help build supportive relationships, learn to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and learn new skills, as well as being able to link in with employment, their community and churches for long-term growth and support.
Who are the Coaches?
Coaches are volunteers recruited from within Kenmore Baptist Church. They are invited to apply, and must supply references, attend an interview and undergo training. Coaches must also meet Child Suitability Worker (Blue Card) requirements.
How are Coaches Trained?
Training is ongoing, interactive and discussion based. An initial 30 hour training program with professional guest speakers provides an introduction to Coaching, instruction in the boundaries & values involved and how to deal with families at risk, as well as improving communication skills and effecting change. Coaches receive ongoing training and support in a group situation, as well as one-on-one from a qualified Social Worker, Pastor or Community Worker.
Independent evaluation is being conducted by Monash University to determine improvements in the emotional, social, economic and spiritual health of families, and provide valuable feedback and information for improving the pilot program.
How do Families Benefit?
Families can benefit from:
- A supportive and nurturing relationship with a Coach
- Confidence and a sense of purpose
- Awareness of broader choices and lifestyles
- Life goals
- Improved relationships and communication skills
- Access to community services
- Skills such as finding employment, parenting, budgeting and managing a family
- Links with employment and training
- Improved community networks (such as church and sports clubs)
Recent research demonstrates connection with church and community leads to:
- Improved sleep and a more rapid recovery from injury and illness
- Decreased stress and risk of suicide
- Decreased prevalence of illness, substance abuse, depression, and juvenile delinquency
- Improved resilience and well-being
How does the Community Benefit?
The community can be strengthened by:
- Increased protective factors for reducing crime and family violence
- More accessible services
- Responsiveness to community needs
- Improved training, communication, coaching and leadership skills for volunteers
- A partnership across local government, churches and community
- Improved sense of community belonging, spirituality, health and well-being
- An expanded body of knowledge on coaching, mentoring and strengthening families
How is C.O.A.C.H. – Community Mentoring funded?
C.O.A.C.H. – Community Mentoring relies on donations.
How Can I Get Involved?
There are three ways you can help families and the community through C.O.A.C.H. – Community Mentoring:
- Volunteer as a Coach (3 hours per week)
- Volunteer as a Coach Leader (8 hours per week)
- Support the work of C.O.A.C.H. (as an individual, group or through a business) using regular KBC direct debit facilities