It was a homemade burger that inspired this interview with 12 Buckets mentor Melinda Tognini Writer/Author .
Melinda and I spend most Tuesdays together at the Bodhi Tree, writing – Tuesdays is writing day 🙂 . We’re both part of a mastermind group run by Amanda Kendle Travel Writer and Social Media & Blogging Consultant, meeting about every 4-6 weeks to set goals, brainstorm, inspire, and keep each other accountable for our various blogging and social media projects.
“Hey Aggie, wondering if you felt like sketching this burger for one of the 12 Buckets students who made burgers with his mentor today.” was the message I received on messenger from Melinda with an image of an actual burger made by one of the students. As soon as I read the two words sketch and burger my fingers got tingling! I thoroughly enjoy food sketching. And this was for a very good cause too.
Below is my interview with Melinda about 12 Buckets and the burger.
So Melinda, tell me about the story behind the burger?
One of the mentors, Matt, is a keen sportsman and so was matched up with a student with similar interests. During their first session together, Matt asked the boy what he’d like to do, expecting a sport-related answer.
And so the two of them started searching out simple recipes to learn together. One of the aspects of any mentoring module is the idea of contribution – giving back – so they planned to cook hamburgers for the whole class. The burger you sketched was one they made during a practice session.
What is 12 Buckets?
12 Buckets is a not-for-profit organisation working in several primary schools in Perth’s northern suburbs. It evolved out of a conversation back in 2010, between founder and CEO, Travis Fitch, his wife Emily and another friend about how they could give back to their local community. They realised that although they didn’t have a lot of financial wealth, they had a rich social network, and so they wondered how they could share those connections with the kids in the local area.
Initially, they gathered a group of friends and headed into the local school, Balga Primary. They helped with school work and some big brother big sister style mentoring, and basically made it up as they went along.
Now 12 Buckets is in four primary schools, and although the one-on-one mentoring is still a core component, it’s expanded to include basketball, debating and University Aspirations programs.
This year, we’re hoping to move into our first high school. We want to stay in the same local area, with the hope of following our students when they graduate primary school.
Why did you get involved?
Basically, I heard Travis and Em talking about it, and wanted in. I’ve worked with kids in one way or another since I was 18, and there was something about the passion, vision and strength based approach that appealed to me. And I loved the way they wanted to instill a capacity to give, regardless of a child’s background. It’s where the bucket image comes from – that we fill up when we pour ourselves out for others.
I’ve also been fortunate to have had some key people in my life who’ve helped me feel I mattered and belonged, after spending a lot of my growing up feeling the opposite of that. They saw my potential and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. So, I’d like to think I can pay that forward, to see kids thrive and become all they can be.
What does mentoring require?
Mentors volunteer for one hour per week during the school term. We have mentors who are photographers, carpenters, computer experts, animators, gardeners, physiotherapists, retirees, mums – basically, whatever your skill or passion, there’s a student who will benefit from that connection with you.
It’s not a one-size-fits all program, though. Each project (or module) evolves as the mentor and student get to know each other. Last year, my student and I started with a writing-related project, but it morphed to include a lot of art, too. We ended up designing a magazine filled with her work, which we printed and she gave away.
How do you become a 12 Buckets mentor?
- You can also head to the 12 Buckets website to find out more information
- 12 Buckets have two events coming up, your support will help more children access their one to one mentoring program. Find out more here for High Tea Guy Tea and Leadership Getaway
Before meeting Melinda I had no idea what 12 Buckets was all about and that such a fantastic program even existed. Giving back is so rewarding and so much to be gained by both sides. I’m really pleased I took the time to find out more about 12 Buckets.
Thank you Melinda 🙂