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Ladder – Surviving Adolescence

Ladder is an independent not for profit organisation founded in 2007 by three AFL players who were volunteering at soup vans in Melbourne and witnessing the high numbers of young people continually accessing services. Ladder focuses on helping young people who have experienced, are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing disadvantage. This is to help build their skills, self-efficacy, community connection and opportunities to realise their potential and become contributing members of society.

The Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program builds independence and self-agency in young people and supports them to engage in education, employment and training. The program draws on an evidence-based social inclusion model and is designed to help young people at risk of long-term unemployment build confidence, develop community connections and test a range of education, employment and training options.

Recently, Ladder had the opportunity to be a part of a project with the Latrobe Health Assembly in scoping the feasibility of a Ladder Step Up Family Support program. As part of this scoping, parents of previous and current participants of the Step Up program were interviewed. It was found that over 80% of parents felt that their relationship with their child would be strengthened if offered a program to get support and gain understanding around their behaviour. It was identified that providing a program that brings parents together where they can feel supported and be provided with tools that can tweak/build upon their parenting skills could provide positive change to their young person’s life and to the family relationships. Due to these findings the Latrobe Health Assembly and Ladder collaborated to develop and deliver the Ladder Surviving Adolescence program.

The Ladder Surviving Adolescence program is facilitated in a supportive environment for 6-8 parents per program and runs for 2 hours once a week. The parent program is facilitated longer than the young person program, to provide opportunity for parents to put some of the tools that they have gained to use. Whilst doing the program the parents will be able to support their young person and provide encouragement. The program also provides parents with opportunity to further develop in areas that they would like support with. Ladder also facilitates a day out with the young people and their parents doing an activity to allow them to put into place some of their learnings as well as providing them with the opportunity to spend some quality time together which is often difficult to do.

The sessions allow parents to increase their parenting toolbox and to bring about positive change to their family. Ladder will be supporting parents over a 12-month period, and will also provide parents with a further 12 months alumni support once they have graduated from the program. This allows parents to stay connected to Ladder with support for the times when things get a bit difficult or if they feel that they are not sure of how to better support their young person.