Every young person needs and deserves someone to stand by them in good and bad times. But as South Africa faces some of the toughest challenges in the world today, more and more young people are finding themselves having to cope on their own with very little or no guidance. Boys are growing up without father figures, while our girls are looking for love in the wrong places.
The Heartlines Youth Mentorship Initiative has been developed to encourage and support ordinary South Africans to journey alongside a young person. Contrary to usual mentorship programmes, Heartlines does not match mentors and mentees; instead the organisation is calling on people who already have a young person in their circle of influence to become a mentor.
Anyone can apply to become a Heartlines Mentor via the website at www.forgood.co.za while those without access to the Internet can apply by smsing the word ‘MENTOR’ to 33250 (costs R1.50).
Once an applicant has been approved to be a mentor, they are sent a starter pack. The pack includes a printed guide to help steer the mentor through the mentorship process and a DVD with real life stories from ordinary mentors and mentees, while a support line has also been established where mentors and mentees can speak to a counsellor when they find themselves in a difficult situation or have questions that need to be answered directly.
Mentoring a young person is a very significant way in which people can really reach out, build relationships and make a lasting difference. The world becomes a better place when we help each other. Through mentoring our youth we are giving them the opportunity for a better future in which we bring about change for good for everyone.
Heartlines also offers training to groups that are interested in promoting mentorship to their members.