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2011-2013: 10 Years of Ignite Mentoring!

Ignite Mentoring is 10 years old! As a student-run not-for-profit organisation, we are so proud of what we have accomplished in the past 10 years.

Have you ever wondered how Ignite Mentoring started? As we celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, let us take you back on a journey full of passionate people, amazing students, and wonderful volunteers to show you how Ignite Mentoring has become what it is today!

2011: Where it all began!

Ignite Mentoring was established in 2011 by a student at the University of Western Australia (UWA), Ilona Quahe. Ilona was volunteering at Balga Senior High School in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. She quickly realised that the students spoke English very well, however, they lacked the self-confidence to do so. Discovering this, she then came up with a program to help students realise their potential; the Ignite Project!

Ilona formed a volunteer group through her university, and a pilot study of the program was formed. The program was run for Year 11 ESL students with 8 mentors. By the end of 2011, Ignite Mentoring had 25 mentors at Balga SHS!

(It was decided that the) Year 11 students required additional communication skills and they would benefit from a one-to-one program to practise their English. We also looked at this as a way for them to have an opportunity to speak about what type of career they would like to pursue.

- Teacher at Balga SHS


Balga SHS was so impressed with Ilona and the mentors, inviting them back for the following year. The team was now more determined than ever to create a bigger impact. A committee of 10 members was formed to help make this happen: Ilona Quahe, Rob Purdew, Lawrence Ward, Monika Plattner, Claire Harford, Sasha Quahe, Shounok Chatterjee, Itzel Fox, Tom Durkin, and David Silbert.

In 2012, Ignite Mentoring also formed its original mission statement: Ignite is a mentoring/tutoring project for high school students who attend schools in low socio-economic areas. Our vision is to empower young people to achieve their potential. Our focus is on making a real impact and creating a project that is effective.

That's right - tutoring! Our program has since evolved with a strong focus on mentoring and

helping students develop self-confidence and soft skills.

The program expanded to more students at Balga SHS, including students in years 8-10. During this time, 60 mentors went to 7 classes supporting roughly 100 students!


The Ignite Committee continued to further its impact and define its goals:

  • Increase impact through existing and new programs

  • Develop excellent volunteer management systems and culture

  • Develop a clear vision and understanding of our impact

  • Increase sustainability and capacity of Ignite

Ignite Mentoring continued to grow and almost doubled its size with a total of 102 mentors!

Come celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary Cocktail Night on August 20!



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