Join in ... with L2P Murraylands
David Trenam invites you to become a mentor driver and help disadvantaged young people in Murray Bridge.
Seventy-five hours is a long time.
For learner drivers who don’t own a car, or don’t have anyone capable of supervising them on the road, it might as well be an eternity.
To get their P-plates and earn the right to drive independently, young people currently have to complete 75 hours of supervised driving, including 15 hours at night.
Since its establishment in 2019, the L2P program has endeavoured to make that possible for disadvantaged youth who would otherwise struggle to fulfil those requirements.
Without a driver’s licence, program founder Peter Sawley said, it was almost impossible for young people to get and keep a job, and begin building their own lives.
One young person he knew had cycled from Murray Bridge to the Bend Motorsport Park for work, a 60-kilometre round trip, before getting involved in the program.
The L2P program did not receive any government funding, he said; it was funded by a $12 per hour fee for participants and by business sponsorships.
It relied heavily on volunteer mentors: not driving instructors, but ordinary drivers who were willing to sit in the passenger seat of the program’s car and help young people work towards a better future.
One of those volunteer mentors, David Trenam, took the time to tell Murray Bridge News how it all worked.
When did you first get involved with the L2P program?
There was a meeting at the Station … about the L2P program, mentoring people to get their Ps. I thought it sounded like an interesting thing to be doing. I’d just retired recently … I got my name taken, I was contacted, worked through the process of getting the clearances you need around working with young people, making sure my licence was valid; then I pretty much started once the (program’s) car was functioning.
What do you spend your time doing each week?
I’ve been doing half a day, twice a week – generally about four sessions a week (supervising learner drivers).
What do you get out of your involvement?
I find it very fulfilling. I really haven’t experienced any negative experiences, apart from almost hitting other cars – you expect that (when supervising a learner driver). The mentees have all been extremely polite and well behaved. It has been fulfilling to see them improve their driving.
What is your fondest memory of your time with the program?
Seeing a person develop from having no idea how to drive to being a competent driver. This was a lady from overseas with no other support locally, with a baby coming. We’ve had a couple of people with disabilities. One lad had a learning disability and had failed his Ps, we got him through. One lad had ADHD-type issues and failed his Ps five times; we got him through. That’s some of the fulfilling things you experience.
What is your goal with the program?
I only really hope to achieve what I am achieving: get people to get their hours up and get their Ps.
Why should people become mentors with the L2P program?
In an area like Murray Bridge, if you’ve got a car, you don’t think a second thought about getting in the car and going where you need to drive … Think of the things that can block people from getting their licence – (you) can come out and help someone overcome those difficulties. You don’t need special training. If you’ve been taught, you’ve got a role model for teaching someone how to drive.
More information: www.l2p.org.au.
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