This month sees the launch of a new initiative on the Coast to support the area’s young people through mentoring.
The programme is a collaboration between two local organisations – Coast Youth Community Trust (CYC) and Youth in Transition (YIT) – in partnership with Auckland’s Upside Youth Mentoring.
Experienced mentor trainor Robin Cox is also providing support and advice.
Project manager Caitlin Watson says it is a pilot, but there are already signs that it may expand and grow – crucially there seems to be no shortage of people willing to put themselves forward as possible mentors.
CYC and YIT work with at risk youth, and Caitlin says both organisations agree there is a need locally for another tool in the toolbox.
Coast Mentoring will support young people aged 10-24 who are referred from CYC or YIT because they would benefit from having an adult mentor.
Mentors are volunteers, of all ages, who will need to commit to spending 12 months meeting their young person weekly. Caitlin says this is to give the relationship time to grow and flourish, and build trust.
Mentors receive training and other support. They will also be interviewed by Coast Mentoring and police checked, to ensure they are suitable for the role and to help match them with a young person.
Caitlin says Coast Mentoring also meets and works with families, so that everyone is on board. “We are very clear that a mentor is not a parent,” she says. “They are complementing those adult figures in the young person’s life.”
She says mentoring is a very powerful tool. “It helps young people to develop more self-confidence, resilience, a connection with the wider community and to navigate relationships. The mentors also benefit, by seeing those changes in a person and having a renewed sense of connection and purpose.”
“I am very excited about the opportunity this provides for our community,” Caitlin says.
The programme is to be officially launched on October 22. See What’s On for more details.