The first pilot project of the GR8 MATES program comes to an end next week. This past week has been a time for reflection, completing Mentor Exit Surveys, Mentee Exit Surveys and the online Mentor Profiler and Student Performer. Although it’s too early to make any conclusive statements, it is not too early to say that this first program has been a resounding success. Students who have completed the Student Performer online have shown growth in many areas. Early signs are showing that those students who have grown in self-confidence are beginning to make strides to reach their potential. As there has been more of a leaning towards school retention and the development of career pathways in this program, it is good to see how much more confident most students appear to be in these areas. I need to do a lot more work on the evaluations etc., but there is enough evidence to suggest that a school-based youth mentoring program like GR8 MATES can be life-changing for young people who have plenty of self-doubt and, perhaps, are beginning to disengage from school.

I am looking forward to seeing how the mentors have fared in the Mentor Profiler and hope that most of them will complete this during the forthcoming weekend.

The two other programs are becoming more settled. In one of the schools another mentee has left the school, so we are awaiting the paperwork from another student. Mentors involved in these processes are showing great patience and restraint, as it would be all too easy for them to walk away from the program. I keep all mentors informed of developments in the three programs via a weekly email note and the feedback about these tends to be positive. It’s a small way of continually reminding them that they are valued.

On Tuesday night the next batch of mentors will complete their training. School holidays follows and then the matching process will begin in early August. I have had confirmation from the outgoing group of mentors that almost all want to continue in the program, if not in August then when we run another program in 2009.