37. A new program gets under way – it's challenging!

Earlier this week I ran the mentor and mentee matching session at one of the schools where we are launching our GR8 MATES program. We had plenty of fun and the activities that took place were totally non-threatening and aimed at helping mentors and mentees find similar interests, values etc. One mentee muttered to the School Coordinator that he didn’t see how grey-haired old people could help him and then, a short while later, chose two ‘grey-haired’ old people in his choice of three for the mentoring role!!

This particular group of students has so little ambition. Most don’t have a clue what they want to do with their lives; most have very few people they look up to and admire, yet they all have potential and this wonderful new group of mentors will encourage them to see this.

We had a few students unable to attend the matching session as they had other school commitments or were away. This made the matching a bit of a juggling act, but I ended up comparing similar interests etc. which both parties had expressed in their Interest Surveys. No complaints received thus far, so I am feeling optimistic.

This school is a challenge, yet they have some fantastically dedicated and committed staff and a Principal doing his level best to encourage the students to see all the possibilities out there for them. Having the mentors, all successful people in their own right, arriving each week at the school, will itself be a positive development.

My only concern is that 6 months is going to be too short for these mentoring relationships, especially because the mentors will be trying to cover a lot of ground to help these youngsters make wise choices about their futures. However, it is a pilot program, so it’s all a learning curve!

While we were involved in the matching session, a few students put their heads through the door to find out what was going on. When told, they wanted to know why they could not participate? That’s the sort of response that we want to hear isn’t it?

Tomorrow I run the matching session for the third new program. A smaller group with different dynamics. Could be interesting.