At MYMCA's M.Y Mentoring programme, we believe that a mentor is someone who builds a relationship with a youth not primarily because of a need to pass on values, but because he or she sees value in the mentee and seeks to believe in him or her. The added blessing is that once a relationship of trust is built, a mentee naturally begins to open up to the mentor and may be influenced by the mentor's perspective of life and values.
To successfully build trust in any relationship, it takes time. Koh Yan En, a mentor who participated in Yuying Secondary School from February to May this year, shared about her experience.
She said, "Sometimes it was disheartening because in the first few weeks, the students were more rowdy and appeared to be disinterested in the programme. But it was heartwarming to see the students slowly opening up to their mentors as the weeks went by."
Through the programme, which reached out to lower secondary school students, mentors like Yan En expressed their belief in their mentee's potential by relating to him or her at a personal level; taking part in similar activities and by providing a safe space to think through responses to challenging situations.
One of the activities involved a series of hypothetical questions where everyone was asked to think about their responses to real-life situations. They were then asked to consider crafting their responses into more positive ones.
Such activities demonstrated clearly how our actions carry consequences and how we are empowered to make right choices for better outcomes. Participants who felt anger towards a situation realised that there were various ways that their anger could be expressed healthily. It was an empowering experience when everyone learnt that they can choose to respond sensibly to life's different circumstances and sometimes, challenging situations.
Yan En said that witnessing how the students developed over the 10 weeks was worthwhile and that it was doubly rewarding to see her mentee embracing some of the values she believes in.
"At the end of the programme, I saw many of the youths step out of their comfort zone to approach people in their neighbourhood (to give out drinks and food). They are encouraged to care for others, and to discover that life does not revolve just around the problems they are facing, but that they too can be solutions to problems," she said.
Another mentor, Tan Qi Guang said the experience was fulfilling. "I witnessed my mentee change from someone who was initially reluctant to attend the programme to someone who now takes the initiative to confidence in me. The trust that he gave to me was something that I never experienced before," he said.
When Qi Guang's mentee told him that he wanted to be an interior designer, Qi Guang gladly gave him some information on courses offered in polytechnics that could support him in achieving his dream.
"I hope that I motivated him to focus on his studies so that in the near future, he can be enrolled in courses that will help him to achieve his ambition and discover his purpose in life," he said.
Through empowering relationships at each M.Y Mentoring programme, mentors like Qi Guang are constantly communicating their tremendous belief for each unique youth's potential and future.
Are you convicted about the potential within youths too?
If so, we welcome you to consider building a relationship with a youth. Join us in engaging and empowering the next generation – so that his or her potential can be unleashed.
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