A Majulah Community mentor interacting with students, taken before COVID-19. (PHOTO: MAJULAH COMMUNITY)
The word “mentor” can carry a lot of weight, yet many still feel a desire to give back to society. Are you an aspiring innovator looking to spearhead a youth mentorship programme but not sure where to start? Or an existing youth mentorship groundup looking to build a more fruitful and heartfelt relationship with those you walk alongside?
Majulah Community has got you covered!
We recently hosted a survey to find out what worries the youth about volunteering as mentors, to other youth. Taking these responses, we developed and launched our Quick Mentor Starter Kit – designed to equip individuals with 5 steps they can take, to kickstart their journey as a mentor. Read on to discover what these 5 steps are!
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”
The foundation of a mentoring relationship is trust. And like every foundation, you have to build it from the very start.
Your mentee needs to feel safe and cared for when they are with you. For some, building trust may not come easily because of their past or their environment. Show up. See them for who they are. Be there anyway.
And once you have started to build it, do not ever break that trust.
Here are some possible activities to help you and your mentee build trust and rapport:
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
At this step, your role as a mentor will be to set a vision together with your mentee.
Every relationship is different. Remember that you are not there to walk their path – you are there to light the way. Do this together.
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”
You have set your expectations and goals together with your mentee. The next step is about learning, growing, and achieving together. And as we all have in our own lives; sometimes our mentees will fail. Some will lose hope or give up.
What differentiates a mentor from others? We do not lose hope or give up on our mentees. Mentors are always able to look forward and support their mentees on their path.
Some days, they may need advice. Other days, they need us to just listen. Never be afraid to admit that you do not know something. Often, the best thing you can say after is, "Let’s find out together.”
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
You have seen your mentee grow. You are proud of them.
And now, as a responsible mentor, it is time to prepare them to fly on their own.
Where Step 3 was about helping them to see that they can do it, Step 4 is about letting your mentee realise that they can do it. It was not us who achieved their goals, it was them all along.
There is no one easy way to do this. But without this step, your mentee will always be reliant on you – and that was never the intention.
"I may not always be there with you, but I will always be there for you."
Other words for this final step include termination and closure. The point is this: no mentoring relationship can last forever. We are not suggesting you ghost your mentee (please do not), but it is important to consciously take a few steps back. Let them know why.
With all the trust you have built along the way, they will understand eventually. They will write their own stories and take their own paths.
And if they ever need to talk to someone who believes in them, they know how to find you. That is what a mentor is for.
We hope you enjoyed reading the tips and tricks presented in our Quick Mentor Starter Kit. Want a PDF copy? Grab yours at bit.ly/mentor-starter-kit!
Majulah Community is on the lookout for more volunteer mentors to empower youth of all backgrounds. Keen to kickstart your mentoring journey? Head over to bit.ly/be-a-spark to sign up now!
About the author:
Zaid is Chief Partnership Officer and Boy Wonder at Majulah Community, and probably the most normal person in the team 😜 Majulah Community has mentored about 1,800 youths from backgrounds as varied as budding youth leaders to those finding it difficult to stay in school and out of trouble.
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