Our third program matching session took place on Thursday. A small group of 7 mentors and mentees. When I arrived at the school the mentees were sitting around – better to say lounging around – in the library waiting for everyone to arrive. I made a comment about them looking fast asleep and some responded and shared the humor.

Once the matching session began, they began to perk up. When I did a fun activity – they are all fun actually – some were a little disinterested, then they rose to the challenge and then they were all involved. Wonderful to see the transformation taking place in the space of 30 or so minutes. As I have probably mentioned before, so many of these young people are lacking in ambition, self-belief and so much more. We have done the matching now and mentors meet with mentees for the first time next week. Then, just as we get the program under way, we miss the next week because of teacher industrial action … grrr!! Not for me to comment on this, just to ask those organising such action not to get in the way of the GR8 MATES mentor program, as every minute these youngsters spend with their mentors could be potentially life-changing 🙂

I returned to work and found an email from another mentor. She was going to hear her mentee sing that night at the school and wasn’t sure how to approach the mentee’s parents. Indeed, she wasn’t sure that her mentee actually wanted her to meet her parents! What should she do? Well, I suggested that she let the mentee take the lead and, if she was introduced to the parents, also let them take the lead to assess how much they knew about the mentoring program etc. etc. I tried to encourage the mentor not to go over the top with enthusiasm about her mentee and to be careful that the parents didn’t feel threatened in any way by the mentoring relationship, even though they had given their daughter permission to participate!

Next morning the mentor sent me an email. She hadn’t seen my email prior to leaving for the show, but in the end it didn’t matter. She proceeded to tell me that the mentee had introduced her to her parents. The mentee’s mum expressed her gratitude to the mentor for all she was doing; mum had noticed the positive changes in her daughter in recent months etc. etc. and she invited the mentee to sit with the family for the second part of the evening. If there was a Cloud 99, the mentor was higher than that. She even forgot to tell me how the mentee’s vocal performance was!!

Again, it’s a wonderful tale to tell, when less than a month ago the selfsame mentee was questioning the value of the mentoring relationship. Now she does not want it to end! A little help from her mentor in offering some work experience at her child’s playschool, a consistently caring and encouraging attitude, some positive email messages – a combination of these have transformed this mentoring relationship. A WOW moment for the mentor, the mentee, the mentee’s parents and for the GR8 MATES program indeed!!