MATE Youth Program
MATE aims to teach youth how to positively use their leadership skills, enabling them to be proactive bystanders in response to violence prevention. The MATE youth program was established after there was growing concern about the significant and detrimental impacts that violence had on adolescents. Studies revealed that youth were becoming more complacent with unhealthy relationships and more accepting of a society that enables inequality (Adamo, 2014). MATE aims to raise awareness of the level of abusive behaviour in our culture as well as the subtler issues that support a harmful and abusive environment. MATE challenges the root attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that normalise problematic behaviour, and creates a safe environment for both staff and students to share their opinions and experiences about these volatile issues.
MATE is a highly successful education-based program that promotes a positive and well-informed learning environment, whilst effectively achieving learning outcomes including:
- how to make well informed bystander decisions
- rights and responsibilities of an effective leader
- the different types of violence in society
- current ways in which our society supports violence
- diversity, inequality and inclusion
- ways to affect positive change in society
- how to identify problematic issues and respond proactively
- how to challenge violence against women in the community
- the impacts of violence on adolescents
- how to promote effective prevention strategies
MATE is co-facilitated by professionals, including secondary teachers and psychology trained facilitators, who are experts in victim and perpetrator intervention. Workshops and Train-The-Trainer programs provide everything that schools need in order to influence, educate, encourage and challenge staff and students to make a positive change in the world in which we live.
To achieve attitude and behavioural change, MATE has developed two different workshops offered to students in years 10-11 and year 12. Both programs raise awareness, beginning with a discussion around leadership and how we must all define ourselves as leaders with the ability to effect positive change. We then make a link between leadership and violence. Following these two foundational exercises, students are introduced to MATE’s bystander intervention framework, and provided with a suite of options that all students, regardless of their circumstance, can draw from to interrupt harmful and abusive behaviour. This is reinforced by providing a solid understanding of what it means to be a proactive bystander and the positive impact this can have. Facilitators create a safe, comfortable space for open discussion to be held, while educating students on sensitive topics that we rarely get the opportunity to discuss in schools. Some of the scenarios and discussions are based around relative topics including:
- Alcohol and consent
- Use of Pornography
- Use of Language
- Online Harassment
Ultimately, the foundational exercises are bought together by unpacking what lies beneath harmful behaviour and the issues in our society that nurture inequality.
The difference between the year 10-11 and 12 programs are that they are filtered to suit age and appropriateness of content. The 10-11 workshop focuses specifically on students understanding of how to be positive leaders and active bystanders, especially when entering the senior years of schooling. The senior program allows students to look more deeply at unhealthy relationships, inequality and violence in order to feel more comfortable with making decisions when being faced with ‘real world’ situations.
After completing the workshops, students will have access to the online MATE discussion forums, social media outlets and be linked in with our website, which is constantly updated with current issues, statistics, relevant articles and events.
The length of the workshops can be varied between 2 hours – 6 hours, dependent on requirements and budget. Workshops are not lectures, we use teaching methods consisting of realistic scenarios, multimedia, interactive discussions and video clips from popular culture.
The MATE 3-day Train-the-Trainer program has been specifically designed for members of staff and administration. Participants spend three full days with two MATE facilitators being immersed in the content. Each topic and scenario is explored at length, enabling a depth of understanding required to proceed as a trainer. At the end of the three days, participants are certified to facilitate MATE awareness raising workshops to other staff and students within their school. Participants are provided with all the tools required to develop their own workshops. Train-the-Trainer sessions can include up to 25 participants. We offer an online booking system, to reduce costs, with other members of staff and administration from other schools, as an option, at a local specified venue. On completion of the program, members will have access to a community of practice where you can link in with MATE staff and other MATE trainers, to keep up to date with current practice, materials and issues. Ongoing support is also offered to enable you to continue to present and promote MATE in your school.
Parent workshops are also offered, with a similar program to that of the year 12 students.
On completion of both workshop and train-the-trainer programs, post evaluations are completed, ensuring that best practice is met and that MATE is constantly developing and evolving to meet the needs of both staff and students and that a holistic and supportive approach is constantly being achieved.