32. New mentors, school holidays, processing and planning

I always find it inspiring and motivating when I interview potential mentors after they have completed their training. They are so enthusiastic, keen to begin the mentoring journey and, in some cases, are already offering their expertise as volunteers in support of the program development.

I have almost finished processing the applications for the 19 new mentors due to begin in our two new school programs in a couple of weeks. Just chasing up a couple of references and then the letters will go out inviting the mentors to join the program and to attend the matching sessions with the potential mentees during the first week of May. While all this administration is time-consuming, it is necessary and ensures that GR8 MATES meets the international Quality Assurance Standards which will give it credibility as it seeks to expand. In addition to the 3 schools already involved in the GR8 MATES program, we now have a further 9 schools definitely wanting to commit to the program. This can only happen with more funding, as I have mentioned elsewhere before.

We are now into the second week of school holidays. The day before the schools closed their doors for the holidays, I ran orientation programs for the two groups of students volunteering to be matched with a mentor. In one school, the enthusiasm was so great that most of the students already had their Parent’s Contract returned and signed! Both programs have more students interested than we have mentors. While there might be some disappointed students when we get down to the matching, these are all positive signs for the future growth of the program.

I have collected most of the Log Sheets completed thus far by the current crop of mentors. These are simply a record of when they met with their mentees, the sort of things they talked about/covered and a record of any concerns the mentors had. These sheets are inspiring reading and I can see how so many of the mentees have been growing in self-confidence. For some mentors the mentoring journey might seem like a bit of a roller-coaster ride, yet that is pretty normal for this age group. With less than a term to go before the program formally ends, it will be fascinating to see what happens between now and then, the outcomes of the Exit Surveys and how many of these relationships will continue beyond the formal part of the program. One mentor has already told me she is keen to mentor her mentee until the end of the year, as she feels they have made a great connection and he will need support and encouragement to see through the year at school.

Lots of good things happening!