Huge difference with an hour a week
YouthNet's mission is to empower students to make positive life choices through school-based mentoring.
Adults and peers volunteer to support, guide, and be a friend to a young person for a period of at least one school year.
By becoming part of the social network of caring community members, their mentors provide youth with the confidence, resources, and ongoing support students need to achieve their potential.
According to executive director Clare Mello, “The presence of a YouthNet mentor each week guarantees our students that there is someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone and makes them feel like they matter.”
At every stage of life, you have something of value to share.
YouthNet is a truly intergenerational programme, with volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 85 years and coming from a variety of backgrounds.
Many who doubt they are “mentor material” come to realise that anyone who is prepared to spend a little time with a student, can play a positive role in their life.
Adds Ms. Mello, “For some of the children, just having an adult or peer listen to them is very powerful.”
She says. “You don't need to have any special skills to be a mentor — just a willingness to listen, to find out what the child is interested in.
“The children really look forward to their time with their mentors.
“There is a key to a successful mentoring relationship.
“Mentor and mentee need to be able to develop a bond based on mutual respect and a healthy dose of fun.”
Mentors are encouraging, supportive and patient.
They inspire and become a source of motivation for their students, yet also experience great personal satisfaction and fulfilment through the different programmes YouthNet offers. And all it takes is an hour a week!