Funny how different cultures and life experiences are. A while ago, while living in New Zealand, I advertised for mentors for a new program shortly before Christmas, trying to catch people before they took the Christmas holiday break. I hoped to get about a dozen people showing an interest and ended up with 75 enquiries! In the end about half that number ultimately joined the mentoring program during the following six months. When I enquired as to why there were so many people interested, people suggested that it is a time of year when people are feeling generous. With that thought in mind, I started putting the word out in early December 2007 (here in Western Sydney, Australia) for mentors for our 2008 programs. There was some interest for the program in one of the schools, but to date I only have 4 potential mentors signed up, with another 3 pending. Another 4 have withdrawn, citing not enough time to devote to the program for a variety of reasons, which is fine.

In the other program, more semi-rural, I had three articles, together with photos in the local community newspapers and thought I might receive about 10 responses from that. I received 2!! However, I persevered with word of mouth and the School Coordinator where we are wanting to run the program also did some sterling work. Now we have 8 mentors confirmed for that program, though would like to have 15. In that area I decided to experiment and delivered a flyer and poster to the only Retirement Village in the area, two churches, two health and fitness centres, placed notices on the two library boards, one at a local Golf club, another at a Retired Services Club – I have not had one response from those efforts to date and will check next week to see if they are still being advertised.

It is important to persevere, that I keep learning and to continue to explore possibilities, other people’s networks etc. There are a lot of small businesses in our area and so it’s difficult for employers to get away for any period of time during the day.

My one problem is that I am only supposed to be spending about 25% of my time on this program, which means I battle to have the time to visit more folk. That will change as the program expands, I am sure. A most interesting experience, nevertheless.

This morning I tried tapping into the University of the Third Age (3Age), as here are the semi-retired and retired folk. Still awaiting a reply, but this could be another useful source of mentors ………. 🙂