Community organisations and the Advance program
Advance provides great opportunities for young people and adults to work together towards common goals. Through Advance, young people work with suitable community organisations to develop and deliver a community based project or series of volunteer activities. The projects or activities must be of benefit to the broader community.
The essential elements of Advance are that young people do something, that they do it in partnership with a community organisation, and that it involves their choice. The flexibility of Advance enables community organisations to be involved as partners in one, several or all components of the program. Community organisations may work with schools in a variety of ways, including:
- informing young people about their organisation and providing materials to help young people develop and implement a project or series of activities
- interacting with young people by hosting a visit from the school or during visits by staff or volunteers to the school
- supporting the young people's community project or series of activities; and/or recognising and celebrating the participation and contribution of young people in the community.
What are the benefits to community organisations?
Many organisations actively seek to involve young people as members, volunteers or participants in their programs. They recognise that this is important to ensure their organisation is relevant to other young people and to prepare the next generation of leaders. Young people bring an exciting range of skills and perspectives to community organisations. As well as contributing creativity, vitality and different views, they are often more able to adapt to and accept change.
Advance presents a number of benefits to community organisations, including:
- opportunities to introduce volunteering to young people and establish links to support their ongoing involvement with the organisation
- opportunities to introduce young people to volunteering in practical projects or activities in partnership with the organisation, that lead to positive outcomes for the community
- access to new networks and opportunities to involve young people in short-term projects or activities
- an injection of new ideas, enthusiasm and different perspectives
- opportunities to raise the organisation’s profile within the community
- ways to link education material with formal education pathways.
How community organisations can get involved in Advance
Developing a partnership with young people through Advance is an exciting opportunity for community organisations.
- The first step is to consider what opportunities your organisation can offer to young people and how you can work with young people.
- Then you can contact a local government secondary school to see if they are participating in Advance.
Victorian Government secondary schools may also approach community organisations regarding the possibility of working in partnership with young people and the school to deliver Advance.
Some questions community organisations may want to consider when working with young people are:
- Does the philosophy of the organisation match the ethos of the school?
- What experience does the organisation have of including young people in its programs and activities?
- Does the organisation have the level of resources to work with young people? These should include the following considerations:
- Health and safety
- Staff and volunteers
- Financial resource
- Risk management.
- Does the organisation have the capacity to contribute to a partnership?
What makes a community partnership successful?
Attitudes and behaviours that support a successful community partnership include:
- A commitment to the goal of Advance
- A willingness to commit to a partnership with young people and schools
- A genuine interest in young people and communities
- Training that is structured and interesting (if delivering this component)
- A willingness to reflect on practice, with a view to improving outcomes for all involved.
Ideally, staff or volunteer representatives will be able to allocate time to support young people as they implement their project or series of activities. This may include hands-on work, strategic advice and mentoring. The levels of involvement are negotiated by the young people, the school coordinator and the community organisation.
School Community Partnership Notification Form
Together, the school and community organisations plan the project or activities and determine the roles and responsibilities of all involved in the partnership.
The responsibility for demonstrating the delivery of the program and any formal reporting processes for Advance rests with the school. However, community organisations' involvement in program promotion and the reporting process is encouraged.
Notification of partnerships may be submitted by schools to the Department of Health & Human Services.
- Advance school community partnership notification form
Form for notifying the Office for Youth of community partnerships with schools in the Advance program.