We recently sat down with Nick, an experienced Raise Mentor to discuss his rewarding mentoring journey.
Finding a purposeful path
It’s been clearly identified that if you make an impact on a person at the earliest possible point then you can make a difference for someone who might be disassociated with society, school, friends or family. For this reason I wanted to be involved in something that helped to reduce the risk of harm to young people. The senior leaders at my organisation happened to present to a large group of us last year and explain the work Raise does. The emotion they showed when talking about their experience and the value it added to their lives was unexpected. I was aware of the significant problem with suicide rates going up and young people struggling and hearing this kind of passion for the program was enough for me to sign up on the spot.
Mentoring is a two-way street
I wasn’t sure what to expect on Day 1 but was I really looking forward to it. The training process had equipped me with the confidence and skills to be a great mentor. I feel that it really helped me understand things from a youth perspective and prepared me for what was to come.
Halfway through our program COVID-19 arrived and completely changed the dynamic of our mentoring journey. Like for so many people after the pandemic hit, it was a particularly challenging time, especially at work. In fact looking back I was probably experiencing a mild depression of my own. There were days where I didn’t feel motivated at work, or in other areas of the daily routine yet I would go into these sessions and afterwards think “Wow I’m glad I did that”. Having that commitment and someone depending on me was enough to lift me up. Outside of whether I made this massive life improvement for my mentee, it was still really great for me – In a sense we were there for each other.
It’s safe to say that after those Thursday sessions, the world felt like a better place.
I just want to add that the 1 to 1 element was awesome, but the sense of camaraderie gained from the shared experience was a bonus. Egos were checked at the door each week, and that helped to create a safe space for open and honest dialogue. Hearing the other mentors share their progress means that you get a sense of collectively helping this entire group as opposed to one kid – I felt I was part of a movement.
Learn to listen, Listen to learn
The Raise mentoring program helps with things like listening, patience and how to deal with young people. Beyond that, for me personally, it made a significant impact on how I was relating to my own family, colleagues and peers. Realistically you’re only talking about taking one morning out of your week for two TERMS. Considering the benefit you’re going to get and the benefit you’re going to provide, if you can afford it from a work perspective then it’s absolutely worthwhile, 100%. The ripple effect of the journey was that I harnessed my ability to engage with people in a new way, which strengthened my relationships outside of mentoring.
I’d just like to finish by saying that no matter what, by signing on to become a mentor you will make a positive difference, whether for yourself or your mentee. Everything I wanted to get out of the program, I got out of the program and I feel like a made a difference to a young person’s life.
-Nick, Raise Mentor
This is a real account of a Raise mentor however the cover image has been changed for privacy reasons.