Sophie chose to mentor with Raise because she wished she’d had someone to talk to when she was younger. “I just think that having someone to vent to or having some time to talk it all though would have been really helpful for me”.
Piper, a year 9 student, re-enrolled in the program for a second year after getting so much good out of her mentoring experience the previous year.
Piper and Sophie met during the first mentoring session, ‘Jitters’. This first session is called jitters because mentors and mentees are often nervous and jittery about meeting each other and starting the program together. Piper and Sophie shared a few laughs and felt a connection to each other straight away. This sense of connection led to Piper requesting to have Sophie as her mentor via the Raise Program Counsellor.
After being matched together, Sophie and Piper developed a strong mentoring relationship. Piper felt comfortable sharing her stories with Sophie because the trust between them unlocked any reservations she had about opening up.
Piper was struggling with friendship conflicts and found that talking with Sophie about this was somewhat easier than talking to parents or teachers, it was having a neutral, trusted adult that really helped. Piper felt that Sophie was there to listen, and would not judge or tell her what to do. She also trusted that Sophie wouldn’t take sides or tell anyone else what was shared in their sessions together. This gave her confidence to work through possible solutions with Sophie.
“I think when you are trying to talk something through with someone, you want them to understand you and listen to you, rather than confront you…it was really helpful having Sophie there to talk though all the problems with”.
As a result, this unique mentoring relationship enabled Piper to navigate her friendship struggles and come up with some strategies to address the problems. Her friendships improved and her self-perception developed alongside her confidence to build positive relationships with others and she recognises that change in herself too: “I’m very different to what I was…I’ve changed as a person, for the better”.
Being involved in the Raise mentoring program also allowed Piper to meet new people and form new relationships. She developed a support system within the school, and she learned how to interact with and trust adults from the community.
For Sophie, the Raise youth mentoring program helped her to develop a greater understanding of the challenges that young people today are facing, and she found herself experiencing what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes. She was struck by how hard it is for young people today and came face-to-face with understanding and hearing their struggles and challenges.
At the end of the program, Sophie was thrilled to hear that Piper was interested in pursuing leadership opportunities; specifically, that she wanted to be school captain!
This was a sign of considerable change and a clear indication of the confidence she had gained from the mentoring experience.
“Sophie thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and was not only glad that she could make a difference for Piper in the time they were together, but learned a great deal about young people too. Sophie often reflects on how mentoring was the “highlight of her week”.
Since graduating from the program, Piper recommends the Raise mentoring program to others. Perhaps though, it is even more exciting that she encourages others to seek help when they need it. Help-seeking is a core outcome of this program and for her to advocate that it’s important and okay to seek help will in turn help many other young people in her community.
* This is a true story, though names and image have changed to protect privacy.