Introducing the COACH Programme at ABC

Published: Wednesday, 26 March 2014

You're Invited

COACH PhotoLiz Jones (ABC Community Ministries Coordinator) and I are convening a meeting this Sunday 29 March at 9.00am in the Church Lounge and we'd love you to come. Should be finished by 9.40am although the coffee may carry on until 9.55am!

This is an open meeting but it follows a session we had at ABC when we had a Community Ministries Expo (August) and a one later in November when Mark Matthews came to ABC.

You may have expressed an interest in finding out more about COACH Community Mentoring but you may know nothing so here's your opportunity to find out more.. 

So Far

COACH is a programme we have been tracking for the last 12 months and we like the potential it has to break generational disadvantage and marginalisation by coming alongside people and families. 

We also had the National Coordinator, Mark Matthews, come and speak in a church service back in November followed by a pizza lunch with him and a coordinator from another church in our church lounge.

ABC to Start COACH?

We have been encouraged by the response at different meetings so we are keen to keep the conversation going. 

COACH is a big commitment (minimum 5-years) so we as a church need to carefully discern whether it is suitable for ABC and the Alamein community. 

Part of our discernment is whether we have a basic group of people who are starters and someone who can serve as a volunteer coordinator (5-8 hrs a week).

Refreshing Our Vision for COACH

1. To warm you up on the COACH ministry, let me encourage you to view the introductory video which we have screened before and also this video that has interviews with mentors and those being mentored.

2. Read the 4 page Introduction to COACH

3. Read the Evaluation conducted by Monash University (44 pages or more) but if you don't have time to read this I have appended the opening chapter below that gives an overview.

So Now

Please continue to prayerfully consider yours and ABC's involvement in COACH. If you have any further questions please direct them to Liz Jones or myself.

Please let Liz and myself know if you can attend this Sunday prior to the morning service in the lounge.

Please let us know if you can't attend on Sunday morning but you'd like to be involved or keep the conversation going.

This is an open meeting so feel free to FORWARD this information to someone else who you think might be interested, especially someone who came to earlier meetings.

Geoff Pound

Overview on COACH (from Evaluation by Monash Uni)

The COACH [Creating Opportunities and Casting Hope] Community Mentoring Program is conducted through New Peninsula Community Caring Incorporated (NPCCI). NPCCI is the welfare/community care arm of New Peninsula Baptist Church, located on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. 

NPCCI commenced through the efforts of six volunteers who began engaging with isolated and vulnerable families in a local public housing estate in the Mornington Peninsula area. These volunteers began assisting families practically through food parcels and community meals; and connecting with them socially and emotionally. 

The COACH program evolved from this work and a desire to provide goal focused mentoring support to vulnerable families with a view to influence generational change. Vulnerable families can often find themselves in crisis, and as a consequence they can experience stressors that exacerbate and perpetuate the ongoing and potential generational aspects of their problems.

Generally families in these circumstances only have access to (mostly government funded), professional welfare and case management services for periods of 6 - 18 months due to the funding and resource constraints of the sector. After a period of support, these families may return to the front door of support services, once again in a crisis. 

The COACH program is positioned as a support mechanism for families moving out of the community welfare sector. By offering additional ongoing flexible support it is hoped that participation in COACH may mitigate any return to crisis and the associated stressors for vulnerable families. 

Additionally COACH can function in an early intervention context, assisting families to avoid falling into crisis. At risk families can be referred into the program by community groups, local schools and welfare agencies. These families may be isolated, and struggling to manage a mental or physical health problem or battling with relationship difficulties. Problems such as these, if not addressed and managed, can place a family at risk of family breakdown, early school leaving for children, and homelessness or the development of addictions as coping mechanisms. 

These problems can impact the capacity of parents to maintain or obtain employment, therefore locking families into welfare dependence. Any of these issues has the capacity to place a family at risk of falling into crisis. Timely long term support with a program such as COACH may prevent a crisis and significant trauma associated with the deterioration of family circumstances. Hence the program may have the capacity to prevent entry into the mainstream welfare system. 

COACH targets vulnerable families with at least one child aged 12 years or under. The rationale for this targeted approach is the belief that when young children and their families are supported, there is a greater window of opportunity to effect generational change. 

The client/mentor relationship is described as a friendship with a purpose. The parent/s of the COACH family articulate life goals that they would like to achieve in 12 monthly intervals which range from improved domestic skills, financial management, parenting skills and improving job prospects. 

The COACH family is then assigned mentor/s, often a husband and wife team who have children. The mentor/s then engage with the COACH family to achieve their life goals.