Background

The Meet Up Collective is an academic and pastoral wellbeing program that has been developed by Isabella Mitchell in collaboration with past and present students, university peers and educators.

Whilst studying bachelor degrees in Communications & Media as well as Behavioural Science, Isabella was approached by Christ Church Grammar School (CCGS) in Claremont.

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The college employed Isabella to share her communication skill- set with Indigenous secondary students. The CCGS program co- ordinator found Isabella via the University of Notre Dame Australia’s recommendation.

In addition, Isabella was also recruited by mentoring programs which saw her sharing her knowledge and utilising her counselling skills with various student groups.

This experience saw Isabella drawing on her own experiences at school and university, to impart her students and mentees with realistic and authentic guidance and support.

“Whilst studying at uni I fell into the tutoring and mentoring of secondary school students. I was also studying Behavioural Science and counselling, so being able to apply my academic lens to my job allowed me to identify the social issues and pressures effecting young people,” she says.

Her success with the CCGS boys led to Isabella working with a cross- section of students at private schools over four years.

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“My exposure and experience led me to reflect on the flaws in the education system and the particular pressures students are constantly subjected to. These combined with increased social pressure from social media as well as peers results in an increased amount of mental health challenges,” she says.

When asked what Isabella’s ‘secret’ to helping students attain their goals, she says that is starts and end with the rapport.

“Being open, honest and real with students provides the space for them to do the same. I understand the student life, and am particularly familiar with the pressure experienced in private school environments as an ex- Iona Presentation College pupil,” she says.

While Isabella believes the student- mentor relationship is based upon trust and respect, she believes the use of humour, real life examples as well as simple language is paramount to the dynamic also.

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“I have a vision which involves the bringing together of young people who are facing similar stresses. By providing them with a safe, judgment free space in which they are consistently exposed to encouragement, inspiration, motivation and support as well as practical tools, their emotional wellbeing will improve. A by- product of this is enhanced self- esteem which leads to the establishment of leadership qualities and academic success”.

Isabella believes that intelligence comes in many forms, and is driven by the pursuit of unlocking hidden talents and strengths.

She argues that a sense of belonging is paramount to everyone’s wellbeing and ability to self actualise, which is the foundation on which The Meet Up Collective was established.

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