One of the most powerful ways of making a difference is showing up for our young people.
Coast Mentoring is a youth mentoring programme run by CYC Trust that connects young people with volunteer mentors from the community.
Young people are referred from counsellors, social workers, police, psychologists and schools. Many may be struggling with self-esteem, mental health issues, life skills, education or lack positive role models. The goal is for the young person to have a positive role model and big buddy to support them on their journey.
Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, provides assurance that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. The bottom line is relationship – it is all about relationship!
Our team of volunteer mentors are matched with a young person, who they journey alongside for the period of 12 months. Over this time the mentor meets with their young person for 1-2 hours every week – the focus of this time is on building a caring and trusting relationship.
It is always special to hear the stories our mentors share about the fun and wins they have. For example, a young person’s growth in self-confidence, increase in school attendance, stepping outside their comfort zone, learning life lessons, and even just getting out of the house, having fun and trying new activities. However, more than that, it is all about our young people being seen, known and loved.
However, don’t just take my word for it – here are a few story snippets from young people who have a mentor. “It has been great having a person to help with stuff. He has not made me feel bad about school. He helped to guide me with future opportunities.” Another young person says – “before mentoring I was just hibernating from the world but now I have come more out of my room, off my phone and talked to more people. My mentor has helped me to reignite my passions. This year has been more fun and I haven’t had this much fun for a long time.”
On the other hand, one young person says: “my mentor has helped me open up my feelings more to him. I always want to hang out with him. He is awesome.”
If you want to make a difference for our youth, then become a mentor. Many Coast young people are in real need of more positive male and female role models in their lives. You can be a part of making change in our community, and all you have to do is commit to building a relationship, consistently showing up and journeying side by side. Because that is where change happens, in the space of relationship.