Some of the comments made:
“The program does really help with your future and gets you ready for work.” (mentee)
“GR8 MATES has helped me understand what I want to do with my future life.” (mentee)
“It’s really good; learn things and helps you with getting your career on track.” (mentee)
“It makes you realise great things about yourself and your career goals.” (mentee)
“The program helps you have more of an idea on your future. It has helped me become more organised with school work. Give it a go because you never know where you might end up.” (mentee)
“It’s good just to talk to someone that has experience with the things your friends don’t know or can’t help you with.” (mentee)
“The program can really give kids the support, motivation and encouragement they may not receive from home. So especially to some kids, the GR8 MATES program could be crucial! I love it and would do it again in a heartbeat!!” (mentor)
“Very satisfying to see the changes – progress in the mentee – a growing confidence. It stretches me to keep motivating him – at times requires great patience.” (mentor)
“Have helped my mentee to see some of his strengths which encouraged him to believe in himself.” (mentor)
“I think the program is awesome and I love catching up with my mentee once a week. Personally rewarding that I have this opportunity to positively impact a person and help them think about their future. I also find it keeps me accountable in my life; that I am walking what I talk.” (mentor)
“Enjoying it – it’s challenging. Key to work with young people, helping them to be resilient and think through choices. Benefits mentee for their present and future and mentors as it helps us to grow ourselves – sense of purpose is good.” (mentor)
I met with the mentors after the mentoring session and we discussed how they will prepare their mentees for the formal end of the program in June. Mentors are now able to seriously consider whether or not they would like to stay in touch after we officially end the formal side of the program. I also asked the mentors to let me know what they hoped to have achieved by the time the program ends. Once again, the beauty of the program is its flexibility, as these relationships are in such different places at the moment.
Mentors are aiming to take their mentees to visit the work place during the next couple of months.
Meanwhile the two new groups of mentors are a couple of weeks away from completing their training. One mentor withdrew from the program, though this I have come to expect and prefer people to screen themselves out rather than create an issue for me! The rest of the mentors are having a ball and I am now chasing up the schools so I can do the orientation of interested student mentees before our schools close for a couple of weeks holiday in early April.
Tomorrow we meet to discuss how we can expand the program realistically. We already have 5 schools keen to participate in 2009 and, without funding, we have no hope of meeting this demand on our services.