GR8 Mates - feedback from Volunteer Adult Mentors

Feedback from GR8 Mates mentors of a School-based Youth Mentoring Program

The nature of the school academic year meant that the mentoring relationship only occurred for between six and eight months, shorter than the ideal time Robin Cox would have liked. However, as it was a school-based program, there were different ways the mentees could be supported and encouraged within the school environment.

When reading the comments from the mentors, it’s obvious how successful this program was overall, and underlines the importance of sowing the mentoring spirit into the lives  of young and old to create future generations of mentors – even more important in a post-pandemic world in which so many young people have temporarily lost direction, show signs of increased anxiety and have had to change their goals as a result of lockdowns and being unable to attend school..

“[My mentee] began the program wanting to leave school at the end of the year and lacking in confidence. She now believes there are a lot of opportunities out there suited to her talents and is keen to go on to Year 12.”

 “We discussed training options for going in to child care and, based on what I knew about her, was able to direct her into a way that would get her to achieve her goal. I enjoyed the program overall.”

 “We widened the range of possibilities for future studies and careers. Initially he was only looking at Paramedics, but is also now looking at Business Studies as an alternative. I think the program is a wonderful initiative and would be happy to write a testimony or speak about it to other possible mentors.”

 “Helped keep him moving forward … support from staff was excellent and [I enjoyed] the freedom within the program scope to find the path that best suited mentee.”

“I do believe I have helped him become a bit more focused on what and where he wants to go with his life.”

“Perhaps the ground work was put down for future mentoring.”

“I believe that [my mentee] has developed during the time we have been spending together. I believe that the formal part of the program was a bit short – although I understand that the intention is to extend it which will be great. The program is very well put together. Robin is an excellent facilitator and his passion for young people is inspirational.”

“I noticed a general change in attitude over the time. [My mentee] became more positive overall. Coordinator and support/training was fantastic.”

“Able to introduce [her] to someone whose support enabled her to identify her strengths and weaknesses and career preferences. The fact that she will return to the school [next year] is a plus, as she had earlier planned to move schools.”

 “His attitude has changed and is happier with himself and has made new friends.”

 “I think [he] has become more positive, more engaged at school. I really enjoyed him starting to open up to me. He doesn’t talk much to his family, so it was very rewarding.”

 “Hopefully I have given [him] ideas, challenges, options, to think about his future. The school has been great, so has Robin. Great job. Great program. We could do with more funding to make sure this is always available for more kids, more schools and is around long into the future. More people like Robin.”

 “Introduced some hard realities of leaving school Yr10 v YR12 [final year of school in Australia]; took practical step in taking [him] to work place; relaxed approach, taking day to day issues as they come; reflected on links to family, both work and relationships.”

 “Helped [him] focus on priorities and actions taking you closer or away from your goals. Better time management awareness. Some public speaking tips. A wonderful experience. I really enjoyed it and got a lot from it.”

“I enjoyed the training, meeting other mentors from varied areas of the community, the matching process and getting to know my mentee. I introduced the idea of Graphic Art to [him]. An area that he is very interested in and didn’t know was available as a career path.”

 “I believe I encouraged [her] to see herself in a more positive light, which is good. However, I did not manage to encourage her enough so that she plans on staying longer at school.”

 “She is having more emotional days than in the beginning, which I see as her identifying her thoughts and how and why to deal with them. Her marks and organization have improved. [I enjoyed] watching the growth of a young community member; learning how to deal with varying emotions …occasionally her emotional rollercoaster rides concerned me – that I was losing my way with her – BUT Robin always set me on the right way again.”

“I feel that I have made a small difference in her life. She is a very shy girl who maybe didn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. She is slowly gaining confidence and starting to believe in herself. I enjoyed seeing her grow over the last few months even though it was small changes… The support that is given during the process such as comments about how Robin could see a change in her.”

“Through the many activities and discussions we have shared, I have seen a development in his confidence, resilience, self-esteem and self-assurance. He is developing a strength to manage his behavior, his time, his skills and abilities. He is beginning to vision, dream and realize his brilliant potential! Has been a privilege to be a small part of this. An outstanding program – with amazing potential for many young people – and mentors too. Needs to be expanded, encouraged and funded/supported by powers that be!”

 “We worked through career/goal setting/thinking about people, life and jobs and did role plays and discussed experiences (real and possibilities).”

 “His manner came across more confident and positive. He has become very open in conversation with me. Watching him go from so lazy and unmotivated to keen to get an apprenticeship and also seeing him looking forward to us meeting each week.”

 “I saw him grow in confidence and self-belief. All the “I don’t know” and “it depends” answers diminished in frequency. There was also a change in his physical appearance – no longer hid behind long hair and he carried himself more confidently. He was always keen to meet together. At times when the going got a bit tough there was always good advice and encouragement. Feedback on how we were making progress was great … discovering career paths – his excitement and motivation when he realized what he wanted to do.”