According to research conducted by the National Mentoring Partnership Council, youths who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits. In terms of educational achievement, mentored youth have better school attendance; a better chance of going on to higher education; and better attitudes toward school.
In terms of health and safety, mentoring appears to help prevent substance abuse and reduce some negative youth behaviours.
On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them.
The Student Sponsorship Programme has embarked on a mentorship programme as part of the core support programme for its scholars to assist their scholars to develop and have a versatile approach to life. Student Sponsorship Programme’s (SSP) main emphasis is on academic excellence but also believes in developing scholars holistically. The mentorship programme has been immensely effective thus far and it is bearing fruit. A testimony to the programme’s success is the story of Nthabiseng Xashimba and Nolitha Nkosi who started their four year mentor-mentee expedition when Nthabiseng was in Grade 9. Together they have taken this programme beyond the limitations and challenges of life as commitments demand their time.
They shared that their journey was faced with challenges and failures just like any other relationship. Together, with assistance and support from SSP, they resolved to make the mentor mentee relationship work. They indicate that they used their failures as stepping stones to their successes and that their success is a bond of note between the two of them. Overcoming these challenges together and succeeding strengthened their bond.
The SSP Mentorship programme requires all mentors to commit to a four year relationship with their mentees. However Nolitha states that she removed boundaries between herself and Nthabiseng in order to strengthen the relationship. Nthabiseng has become family to her and they both envisage that their relationship will last a lifetime. Nthabiseng states that she is inspired by the relationship she has with Nolitha. She states that she had fears of rejection as she experienced it before, and that meeting Nolitha was one of the best thing that happened to her. Nolitha became part of her family and the family appreciates Nolitha’s role in her life.
Both Nthabiseng and Nolitha point out that though SSP had prepared them through a workshop at the beginning of their mentor/mentee programme that they attended four years ago when they met for the first. They never expected such a roller coaster type of a relationship. Nolitha said that the fear of being a perfect mentor and Nthabiseng’s fear of rejection resulted in them struggling to connect. They had to be real and honest with each other to find the connection. Nthabiseng relates that she never thought that their relationship will progress to what it is with Nolitha because in the beginning they hardly spoke, even making a call to her was difficult. Now she feels blessed to have Nolitha in her life and appreciates all the effort she has made in investing in their relationship. Nthabiseng says that having Nolitha and her mother’s support encourage her to study hard and aim to achieve better results. She states that she appreciates that she has someone to talk to about everything and anything.
For those who are interested in becoming mentors, Nolitha attests that mentoring an SSP scholar is a choice to live a mutually beneficial and inspirational life. It’s a life-changing and rewarding experience.