We've had a really great start for the Tawa youth mentoring programme (Ngatahi Hapori) with an orientation training session that was attended by over 25 prospective mentors and the organising group. Kirsty Pillay-Hansen, a very knowledgeable trainer from the NZ Youth Mentoring Network (NZYMN) led the 3 hour session. The NZYMN works with organisations and practitioners offering support, guidance, access to best practice and professional development in youth mentoring. So having access to this knowledge and experience is really useful as we establish the Tawa mentoring programme.
Tawa Rotary supports this initiative since it is consistent with the drive to support youth development through Rotary leadership programmes like the Rotary Youth Leadership Award; and Dictionaries in Schools.
Kirsty has endorsed the foundational work that the Ngātahi Hapori organising group has done to set up the pilot programme for Tawa youth. She noted that community involvement in such a programme really helps to reinforce how a community can work well together to support our youth. Ngātahi Hapori means ‘a community together’ – it is important that Tawa Rotary continues to be actively involved in an initiative that is valued by our community.
Rotary’s involvement is more than providing funds. We have skilled and knowledgeable members who can be mentors, as well as connections within our community and the ability to influence wider involvement such as encouraging local businesses to provide on-the-job learning. For instance, what about sharing DIY skills as was mentioned at the session, such as how to change a tyre?
Prospective mentors at the session shared their mutual interest in supporting Tawa school leavers as they transition from school to employment or further education. There was a question about whether a mentor can be too old. Kirsty made it clear that age is not the issue – regardless of age, it is whether you can be a positive role model who can share knowledge from your life-time experience; whether you are non-judgemental; reliable; able to listen; and able to encourage young people to achieve their potential. Kirsty talked about mentoring for resiliency in a young person – the need for that person to feel secure, connected to family/community/peers, to feel valued and to have self-belief.
The next steps are for the prospective mentors to confirm their interest in being considered for the pilot programme. The College has obtained applications from school leavers at the end of last term who want to be matched with mentors. If you are interested in this fantastic opportunity to support Tawa youth through this mentoring programme, please get in touch.