Thanks to the support of Di Levack, 19-year-old Pierro Mapanzi is one step closer to gaining his driver’s licence and giving back into his new community.
Di and Pierro are part of the PCYC community program called Braking the Cycle (BTC), helping young learner drivers obtain their licence and gain employment.
The program has been running at the Sandgate and Zillmere branches of the PCYC for the past 14 months and BTC co-ordinator Crystal Hart says it has been very successful.
The volunteer driver mentor program uses PCYC vehicles to support learner drivers who don’t have access to a supervisor or registered vehicle.
Crystal says BTC is so much more than just helping disadvantaged young people build their logbook hours.
“We see young people become more confident in themselves, they build their communication skills with the different mentors, and they build on their knowledge of road rules and driving safely,’’ Crystal says.
“Other positives flow on from this and their ability to then pass their provisional licence test, from being able to better support their family, gaining employment and further training and education pathways.’’
Pierro came to Australia two years ago and couldn’t speak any English. He had to move away from his family, did not have any support and could not afford to pay for driving lessons.
With the help and support of Di and the PCYC, Pierro has had the opportunity to acquire the hours needed to get his licence.
“ I am so thankful for this program. I didn’t have any connections when I came to Australia,’’ Pierro says.
After completing the program Pierro hopes to buy a car and find himself a job.
Di Levack, who works for the Department of Education, decided to volunteer after reading about the program locally.
“I wanted to give back to the community and enjoy working with young people who may not have a parent/carer willing or able to spend learner driving hours with them,’’ Di says.
Currently there are 12 mentors and 11 students at the Sandgate and Zillmere branches and lessons run Monday to Saturday.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer visit www.pcyc.com.au/volunteers