Mentor group expands into Wellington
A YOUTH mentoring group working successfully with young people in the Hutt has plans to move into Wellington City.
Since April last year, Youth Connect has been assisting teens between the ages of 12 and 19 to establish trusting relationships with peers and mentors.
Based in the Hutt suburbs, the organisation establishes a one-on-one partnership between mentor and young person, providing a friend when needed and a shoulder to lean on, says youth mentoring co-ordinator Ema Sanga.
Youth Connect mentors meet those being counselled for an hour or more once a week or fortnight to get to know them and let them have an enjoyable time in a safe environment.
This involves a one-year relationship in which both get to know each other fairly well. After that, the interaction can still be maintained without having to formally report to Youth Connect.
The programme is run in conjunction with Powerhouse Community Church in Lower Hutt and has so far helped 10 young people.
Activity days held every two months enable youth, mentors, friends and family to get together for games, networking and a meal.
These are an opportunity for those who have never been taken out or shouted a coffee, says Ema.
“Some have never been into the city, so one of their mentors took their youth in to the city and along Oriental Pde.”
Mentors try to encourage a positive and trusting relationship with peers and adults, and help people build and maintain positive relationships that will help them throughout their lives.
“We have one youth who started out with no friends, but now has several key friends and is very sociable,” she says. “It’s about giving them the gift of quality time.”
Each mentor undergoes a written application and interview before being selected. A thorough screening is also done for reasons of safety and suitability, as well as making sure the mentor has an appropriate outlook in life.
Youth Connect is recruiting both mentees and mentors from around the Wellington area.