For 19-year-old Okach Diw and 18-year-old Jake Strong, being a part of the L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program has provided a means to gain independence through driving.
Mr Diw joined the program last year and is celebrating the achievement of receiving his license after a driving test last week.
"It was so exciting. It means I am free," he said.
Mr Strong first started in the L2P program in August and is now feeling more positive about completing the 120 hours of practice needed to complete his driving test.
"I was no where near where I needed to be in August but right now I feel like I could get my license pretty soon," he said.
The L2P program, run by the Ballarat Foundation, matches young learner drivers 16 to 21 years of age with a volunteering supervising driver mentor to meet the mandated 120 hours of driving practice to gain a probationary licence.
I would definitely recommend the program to others. I was very reluctant to do it at first, but I am very happy I did.Jake Strong, L2P participant
Learners are accepted onto the program if they do not have access to a suitable supervising driver or vehicle.
Participants can come from various backgrounds and may have financial limitations, parents who can't drive, have left home for study or employment, live in residential housing or experience homelessness.
Mr Diw said he was struggling to pay for driving lessons to get his hours up after his Aunty could no longer teach him to drive.
Being a part of the L2P Program helped him reach his required driving hours and also form a positive relationship with his mentor.
He said now he has received his license the next step is to work to purchase a car.
Forty two young people have gained their license through the L2P Program in Ballarat so far this year.
The Transport Accident Commission has recommitted to funding the program for another four years until 2023, with funding for 100 learners to participate in L2P in Ballarat annually.
Ballarat L2P program manager Emma Hart said the program's objectives were to improve road safety, increase equity of opportunity for learners, improve employment opportunities, enhance mobility and increase opportunities for social connection.
"A driver's licence can mean the difference between employment and unemployment and helps young learners with their social-interactions, behaviour, increases confidence and life aspirations," she said.
Mr Strong said L2P had helped him get on track to getting his license which would go a long way to achieving his goals including work and study.
"I would definitely recommend the program to others. I was very reluctant to do it at first, but I am very happy I did," he said.
More than 50 people are currently on the wait list for the L2P Program in Ballarat which means they may wait up to six months before they are matched with a volunteer mentor.
Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins said The Courier Charity Fund as a sub-fund of the Ballarat Foundation had been a great support to the program in the past, with a $16,300 grant awarded to purchase a new car in 2014.
He said the foundation was looking for corporate supporters who would like to contribute to funding two more vehicles to meet demand.
There is a need to fund one new vehicle and replace another, increasing the fleet of cars to six.
"That demand continues to grow. It is a matter of resources to continue to increase the size of the program," Mr Jenkins said.
Applications for organisations to receive grants through The Courier Charity Fund are open now.
Grants are open to not-for-profit organisations seeking funding for projects relating to the Ballarat Foundation's key focus areas of housing security, food security, school readiness or youth success.
Mr Jenkins said the funding could be a catalyst for new programs and projects.
More than $230,000 in grants has been distributed by the Courier Charity Fund since it began in 2002.
Applications for The Courier Charity Fund opened on October 28, close on November 21 and will be announced on December 6.
Visit the Ballarat Foundation website for details and to apply. Information is also available who may wish to become volunteer mentors, with the next mentor training day on February 28 2020.
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