Transforming Lives and Building Advocates

Posted April 2, 2024
Transforming Lives and Building Advocates

Being a mentor and a leader is something many aspire to be. But it’s not an easy path to take, and it’s made even more difficult for those living with autism. That’s why programs such as the All Stars for Autism Telethon Teen Mentoring Program are so important.  

The Telethon Teen Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for autistic high school students to mentor autistic primary school students, enabling them connect, collaborate and inspire each other as they work together on creative and meaningful community-driven projects. 

Benn, a mentor in the program, recently showcased the program’s impact by speaking confidently at a community event. Initially feeling dread, he embraced the challenge, speaking in front of a crowd of strangers, holding their attention and captivating them with his story.  

Benn’s mother, Michele, said she was so proud of the boy that stood before her that night. 

“All stars has given him the extra thing that was missing from his life, being with other children with autism and being accepted and like for exactly who he is,” Michele said. “The Telethon Program has been life-changing for him, and has shown him that he can be a successful and important part of a team.” 

Ben and his mother Michele with Santa, at the community event.

Benn’s story is not a unique case; the Telethon Teen Mentoring Program has demonstrated significant positive outcomes across the board. Behaviour Support Practitioner and Clinical Psychologist Claire Paterson reported that all mentors showed significant increased ratings in feeling connected, confident and feeling like they were making a positive difference to younger peoples’ lives.  

The program’s impact extends beyond personal growth, supporting an environment where kids can help kids. Teenagers inspire their younger peers to embrace their identity and become advocates, demonstrating that what makes them unique is something to be celebrated, not hidden.  

Telethon has proudly supported the All Stars for Autism Telethon Teen Mentoring Program since its inception in 2020.