At the end of each year, 12 Buckets farewell a number of students as they graduate from primary school and head to high school.
It's our dream that instead of saying goodbye, we'll be able to continue walking alongside students through their teenage years. One way we can do this is through our Young Ambassador program, and it's our great delight to introduce one of our inaugural ambassadors, Indiana.
Indiana is an intelligent, spirited girl who loves animals, particularly her dog, Hunter, hanging out with friends and playing basketball. Now in her final year of primary school, she is a student councillor and dreams of being a vet or a lawyer one day.
In her early years at the school, however, Indiana was often volatile, in trouble and being sent to the deputy principal's office. Indiana says that, prior to being mentored, she had few friends, was bullied and didn't want to be at school. "That's why I was naughty: so I could get suspended and go home to play on my Wii."
Things are very different now. Indiana is highly motivated to attend school, and hasn't been suspended all year.
"I want to come to school so I can do well and end up having a career. I like the saying, 'Find a job that you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life', and that saying inspires me to do well at school."
Her teacher, Mrs Leonie Hilton, says 12 Buckets has played a significant role in the growth she has witnessed in Indiana. "She is really maturing and has a lot more impulse control, a lot more belief in herself and in her talents. She's more willing to listen and not as quick to answer. She has more pride in herself now."
From the way Indiana bounces into the 12 Buckets room and greets staff and mentors, she clearly feels comfortable in this space. But what is it she values most about being involved?
"12 Buckets isn't just about finishing a module. It's about creating a connection with a person, like a brother or a sister. You can tell them anything ... you build a bond with them, and that bond becomes stronger [over time]. If I was to bump into my mentors on the street, I would say hi and find out what's going on for them."
As well as the one-on-one mentoring, Indiana has participated in the basketball and University Aspiration programs. "She is smart enough to go to uni and 12 Buckets has shown her that," says her teacher. "She will be the first in her family and I hope she does go ... 12 Buckets is part of the whole-school approach - you need to hear it from multiple people."
From all of us to 12 Buckets, we congratulate Indiana on her upcoming primary graduation and wish her all the best for her transition into high school and beyond. Indiana, we very much look forward to working with you in your new role of Young Ambassador.