Aislinn Laing - Arnaud Zerkovitz - Lynette Osiemo – Koketso - Yvonne Motsoko - Danielle and Marc Nardini – Carmen Botha – Claire Servoin - Sitha Sahadeo - Simon Hendrie
Standard bank mentors : Brydone Graham, Jonathan Chat , Mangweni, Mfundo,Meshkaya Pillay
Outings All the mentors (except.some of the Standard bank mentors, who joined only in June) took their mentees to various outings
Claire : Get to know each other lunches after Saturday class, Birthday dinner at my place with friends, Fête de la Musique in Melville, Movie, Apartheid museum -Different but all valuable, outings evolved with us getting to know each other.
Aislinn went with her mentee to Soweto (she had never been before!), to the Goodman Gallery after the furore with Jacob Zuma’s Spear painting (this was very valuable as we were able to have a long discussion about the rights and wrongs of the issue, and how it had been covered (my mentee wants to be a journalist). “My mentee valued just meeting up and talking about life issues – relationships, family, work/life balance, her chosen career – she said that she thought this was one of the most beneficial aspects of the mentoring scheme and this part was really the least labour-intensive! I was also able to introduce my mentee to some new life experiences – eating sushi, rowing a boat, going to an art gallery – and she was really pleased to have these new experiences”
Lynette found that the meetings over ice-cream/drinks were the most valuable because we had the chance to talk over things. I also shared with her a class on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” which I had given elsewhere – I think she liked it.
Yvonne took her mentee to Zoo Lake, Acro-branch, we held our meetings at McDonalds..
|Yvonne Motsoko at Acrobranch|
Danielle and Marc participated to the group meetings – picnics and the Wits art gallery (good for mentee to be in a new place and enjoy time with mentees and other peers). They also went to Gold reef city: she enjoyed the rides and was a real treat -Lunches: better for actually talking about problems and career choices.
Mfundo took his mentee to McDo
Career guidance : Nearly all the mentors helped their mentee
- to go on websites : Danielle : “We encouraged them to go on a number of websites at home as well ( cellphone internet)” . Some mentors helped their mentees, who did not have an email address, to set one up.
- to attend open days and career exhibition. Yvonne M. found out that the the most valuable outing was the UJ open day. Carmen Botha took her mentee to the career day at Sandton Convention and contacted all the hospitals so that her mentee could apply for a Learnership. Claire S. took her mentee to “One day orientation” at BHP Biliton centre,next to the Sci-Bono in Newtown. Simon Hendrie gave " aptitude and interest questionnaires" to his mentees.
- to apply to Varsity : 7 Grade 12 applied to Varsity. 7 mentees got also extra help to apply to Nsfas, 5 to bursaries and 2 to the benmark test.
- help with school work : 5 mentors gave “subject and study methods” to their mentees and 2 help them with school work.
Koketso sponsored her mentee (top Grade 12) extra maths & science lessons on a weekly basis, bought her extra text books for Maths, Science, Life sciences and Economics, stationary and a scientific calculator (her calculator got stolen at school)”
- She also helped her mentee get a holiday job/part time job at Mc Donalds Eastgate
Sitha Sahadeo and other Bombela's mentors organized a “Career day” for their mentees, "showing them how the trains operated, taking them on a train ride inside the cab of the train as well as into the workshop and yard were the trains are repaired, washed etc".
Sitha and Simon Hendrie helped set up meetings and contract all the hospitals so that she can apply for a Learnership
- social life : Jonathan C. also chatted about “relationships and social life”. Mfundo help his mentee to balance “school/life balance” and “prioritizing"
One mentor "spoke a lot about her family and current living arrangements. She told me that things are a bit difficult for her in terms of time as she is also helping to raise her little sister as her mum passed away not too long ago. She had previously had to drop out of school due to her mother’s passing but she was now ready to get back into it and focus on school".
The majority of mentors (10 out of 15) were satisfied of their relationships with their mentees. 2 mentors said they were “excellent”.
But there were some challenges
2 Grade 12 mentees“ did not really head the advice given, gave limited feedback or direction into any concerns or problems, kind of felt like it was very one sided. .One of them did not respond to offers of help, didn’t bring her forms, etc. One Grade 11 mentee did not seem to “really realize the importance of acting now”.
Communication challenges : half of the mentees did not return calls/sms !
“My mentee never makes the effort to contact me. His phone is never working well. It is too much of a 1-side relationship. It is a general feeling I had also with mentees in previousyears. 2 of them that never made the effort. It is disappointing”.
Meshkaya's mentee "was very difficult to reach due to the fact that she didn’t have a phone and I had to get ahold of her on her aunts phone".
Sitha Sahadeo managed to get a" sponsorship from Bombela Operating Company for a cell phone and airtime(my mentee did not have a cell phone-which made contacting her impossible). She accepted the cell phone but never contacted me.It was a one sided relationship, very disappointing".
4 mentees ouf of 13 were very shy.
“It has been challenging trying to create a connection with my mentee as he is very shy, but he is a very nice person when he opens up. He is a very switched-on individual and seems to know exactly what he wants to study and where he wants to study. I believe his marks are strong (his parent are teachers) and he has given me no reason to suspect otherwise. I just try and talk to him, ask him questions about himself and supply him with information”.
“Getting to know and understand a teenager is difficult especially when he/she is doubting his/her choices. I tried to support my mentee as well as I could. I need to hear from her if this mentorship made a difference. She is at first a shy and reserved person and it is challenging to understand and support her adequaltely”
2 mentees expected financial assistance, "as the poverty of her family is a huge challenge”
9. Carmen B “met my objective which was at least once a month – however she did not attend 2”. Jonathan C : “It was a bigger commitment than I thought it would be”. Koketso : “the mentorship program is fulfilling even though it is demanding”
Most mentee relied “ heavily on their mentors to look for information”
The majority of the mentors were satisfied with the support they received. Jonathan did not know he could get support from me. He did not know the blog www.beststudentsofalexandra.blogspot
8 mentors used the blog (some did not know about it) and found useful information
Lynette O : It is very useful, has a lot of information and can provide much guidance to the mentees if they take time to browse it
Simon H : I just didn’t spend enough time looking at it in detail for the materials I needed. There’s great stuff there
|Simon Hendrie and Sipho Ngubo|
How can it be improved ?
Danielle and Marco N : career guidance, links and options of you don’t get into varsity all great info and very useful.
Claire S :the blog should be less chronological, more thematic
Meshkaya Pillay : getting the students to regularly voice their opinions on the blog regarding any other issues they may have, make it interactive in that allow people to give advice to the kids live through the blog.
How can we improve the program ?
- have more mentors
Meshkaya Pillay : to help a wider group of individuals as there are many willing individuals out there would like to be a mentor
-give priority to Grade 11 learners
Claire Servoin : Start mentoring students in grade 10-11 to get to know them and bring appropriate support at the right time.
Koketso Moloko - by focusing on grade 10 and grade 11 children. If we focus on these grade, we can assist the children with subject choice, career choice and also informing them of the amount of work that they need to put in order to keep up with the work load
- mentors’selection and support
-Claire S : Test mentors a little bit more about their motivations, time, abilities (on the very first meeting at St Mary’s that we were warned about the students but not about ourselves, as if mentors did not have to prove anything, whereas I think we actually do: what are my intentions, motivations, am I able to provide what is needed etc)….The commitment is on both sides and I had a feeling that a lot was expected from the students, making the relationship ubalanced
-Claire S : Be thoroughly briefed about the SA education system
-Sitha Sahadeo thinks “ it is a very well run programme. My only comment would be that Mentors must be made aware of the effort they need to put in to communicate with the mentee”.
Arnaud :We need a document with all the deadlines
Danielle and Marco N. : “Rather select students with higher marks first, if the marks are too low mentees have unrealistic expectations and maybe use the mentorship program and more of a fun time out”.
- offering other options than Varsity
Claire S : The emphasis of the program is on Science and Varsity (for obvious reasons i.e. the labour market in SA). Students are clearly briefed and formatted according to these two priorities and sometimes express life/career ambitions contradicting their abilities and wishes. The initial “get to know each other” phase is crucial to discover what the mentees really want and can achieve. In the case of my mentee it was a long journey and I believe that some room should be left for the “out of the box” students.
- communication with parents- Koketso :We can also have a parent seminar at the beginning of the year to meet the parents and outline our expectations of support, that we need them to support their children in order for their children to achieve.
-helping them to get holiday job.
Koketso : the other big challenge is, the poverty of the mentees, their home situation is a challenge. We can also have a holiday job seminar to help them get holiday jobs so that they can earn pocket money and learn independence.
A few words about their experience as mentor
Meshkaya Pillay : The programme has already done so much for the kids involved. I feel that this not only inspires willing individuals who are keen to take their careers and lives to the next level, but also allows them to access people in business who have the resources they may need to get ahead. Being a Mentor is neither an easy task nor one to do in your spare time, it is a full time job that you need to dedicate time and effort towards. This is because you are responsible for the lives of young children who are ultimately the future leaders of our country. One of the most important things I learnt at Standard Bank is the importance of leadership, to lead by example and how impacting the lives of the future generation means we are able to improve our country. I enjoyed being a Mentor and am constantly inspired by the passion and commitment I see in many of the mentees, It has been a pleasure to help where I can and I look forward to continuing this relationship with Sizanani and St.Mary’s in the future.
|Carmen Botha with mentees|
Mfundo Mangweni : “Good, my mentee is receptive and listens well, he is also committed and dedicated to his studies and we’ve agreed that he needs to pull his family out of the poverty line by working hard. We’ve also discussed the need to focus more on his school work rather than sports and his mother is pushing for that as well”.
Claire Servoin - I am glad I had this opportunity but I regret I could not bring more to my mentee. I still want this relationship to continue, I think I still have things to share with here beyond matric.
Koketso Moloko – This is my third year being involved in the mentorship program and I really enjoy it, I have mentored 4 girls so far and it hasn’t always been a success but I do it because I strongly believe education is the game changer in one’s life. It can pull you out of poverty and change your reality and also allow you to support your family.
Aislinn Laing : “I did feel that I could always be doing more or helping my mentee more but we both really enjoyed the things we did together and I do feel that I helped her negotiate the minefield that is applying to university and for grants here. When she found out that she was accepted at two universities of her choice (I coached her for the test for one), I felt a real sense of achievement and I know she was grateful for my help”.
Yvonne Motsoko : “I really enjoy being part of this program, giving a little of my time to try and encourage another person to succeed is priceless. I was also once a St Mary’s Outreach student and I think the project contributed to where I am today. We didn’t have mentors back then, so with mentorship students have even better chances of making it out there”.
Danielle and Marco Nardini : “I think the program has great potential to make a difference in the lives of the youth. I didn’t realize how little information and direction the students received at school which makes this program even more powerful. Education is the key to poverty alleviation and we cannot rely on the government to affect this”.
|Mitchell and Arnaud|
Simon Hendrie :
It’s been very fulfilling. Better than last year and I’ll definitely continue!