As a teenager Vicki Condon planned on dropping out of high school. She still remembers her commerce teacher Miss Panayi, who convinced her to stay.
Instead Vicki became the first person in her family to go to university. “It’s interesting how the memory of a favourite teacher can stay with you,” said Vicki, CEO and founder of Raise.
“They’re the ones that have the biggest impact and you can still remember them all these years later,” she said.
Now it’s Vicki who’s having the impact, as CEO and founder of Raise, a mentoring foundation that supports teenagers struggling through tough times.
Raise is on a mission: to eradicate youth suicide in Australia.
Raise’s mission is to eradicate youth suicide in Australia by providing mentoring programs, with TAFE accredited trainers and qualified counselors, for young people mostly aged 13 to 19.
“We do what we do because suicide is the biggest killer of young people in our country today. How can that be right?,” Vicki said.
“What’s missing in a lot of our communities and our families is that old notion of a village. Raise comes from the old proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’,” she said.
The Coca-Cola Australia Foundation is committed to being a part of that village donating more than $450,000 over three years to support Raise. Additionally, Coca-Cola is encouraging its employees to participate at a grass-roots level.
“In three years’ time I hope to be sitting here with Vicki having achieved a tremendous increase in the number of trained mentors that are involved in her programs,” said Malcolm Hudson, chairman of the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation.
“One of the things that particularly attracted us to Raise was the opportunity for Coca-Cola employees to get involved by being trained as mentors to help deliver on the opportunity,” said Coca-Cola Australia Foundation chairman Malcolm Hudson.
“In three years’ time I hope to be sitting here with Vicki having achieved a tremendous increase in the number of trained mentors involved in her programs,” Malcolm said.
Raise chairman and director Leon Condon has been with the organisation since its inception eight years ago. He’s seen some dramatic changes in that time. “It began in the home office, where we were looking after a handful of young people and raising money through movie nights,” Leon said.
“Today we’ve got amazing organisations like the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation helping us grow to supporting 1,000 young people next year. It's incredible,” he said.
To find out more about Raise, and to lend your support to this worthy cause, visit raise.org.au