Pillars is a volunteering organisation with one of the most well established mentoring programmes in New Zealand.  Our volunteers have donated over 8000 hours of their time annually to supporting children of prisoners to have a positive future.

We have the most committed, giving and wonderful volunteer mentors from all walks of life. We have Uni students, business owners, semi-retired people with extra time on their hands and many others mentoring our young people. 

With our experienced team that recruits, trains and supervises our volunteer mentors, they feel encouraged and supported in their volunteer work.  Our mentors also love the relationship they build with other mentors, and this has resulted in great friendships as well as business networking.

It’s all about being yourself, and being a good mate.

Download our mentoring brochure Mentors Wanted Brochure

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer mentor in Christchurch or Auckland, the first step is to contact us, and we will invite you to our next introductory session.  There you will find out what is involved, ask any questions and you can take the next steps toward a truly rewarding volunteer role. 

If being a mentor is not for you, you or your business may like to consider supporting somebody else to be a mentor through our sponsorship programme.

Our Volunteer Mentors

Our volunteer mentors are wonderful people who have made the decision to donate some of their time to the community. They are the type of people that want to do a bit more than just shake a bucket for donations. They want to get actively involved in helping a vulnerable child and make an impact on their happiness now as a child or youth, and provide hope for their future.

Pillars mentors have made the link between mentoring a child of a prisoner and strengthening our communities. They know that while they are being a great friend and role model to a child who is in a tough situation they had no say in, they are also impacting their future and potentially helping to break the cycle of offending in that family at the same time.

Our mentors choose the Pillars programme with confidence to give their time to because it is research based, endorsed by the Ministry of Social Development as a safe programme, and it has won awards such as the “Every Child Counts” Award for the impact it is making in our community.



Mentor profile : Mark

Mark is a director of an IT business, a husband and proud father of a two little boys - a pretty busy guy!  Mark donates his time to Pillars as a mentor and Board member bringing business management expertise. Mark’s ‘buddy’ is now in his early teens and they love playing sport together, often playing cricket or rugby on a Saturday morning in the park.

Mark chose the Pillars programme for the fact that it not only helps a child who deserves happiness and positive pro-social role modelling but because of the impact the programme makes in breaking a cycle in families.

"We know that these children, through no fault of their own, have a high propensity to commit crime or be affected by that cycle. So we are able to identify them and therefore we can effect that change directly, it's a really powerful mechanism."



Mentors in the News

Check out some of our mentoring stories that have appeared in the news media.

Mark's story - Auckland Harbour City News

Matt's story - Central Leader

Destry's story - Maori TV

Erin's story  - Christchurch Press

Corrina and Ben's story - Manukau Courier




Everyday Heroes

We call our Pillars mentors "Everyday Heroes." Quite simply because they are making a huge impact, just by being themselves.

Mentor Matt
Mentor Matt
A Pillars mentee having fun at our art day
Matt's mentee having fun at our art day

Mentor profile: Matt

Matt works at ANZ Bank in a role as a senior risk advisor. He is a busy guy, originally from the UK and enjoys sport, renovating his home with his kiwi wife and many of Auckland's great outdoor spots. Matt chose the Pillars mentoring programme as he grew up not in a privileged home, but one that offered support and encouragement in anything he set out to achieve. Matt realises not all children and youth have this advantage and was keen to be donate some time and make a difference.

Matt mentors a young man in his early teens who has experienced his Dad going to prison, and had to move to another place far away from familiar friends and surroundings. Matt was able to encourage his young mate to stay involved in sport and he is now enjoying team sport at his new school. When they get together they often go for a run or sometimes they just hang out at the park or a café and play chess.  Matt loves getting a text from his mate about how things are going and has found the role so rewarding seeing his confidence grow through greater participation in sport and the community.

“He loves going down to the park, he’s extremely well mannered, more than I was at that age. It’s just about being there, it’s sharing a part of life they’ve never been exposed to, and the smallest things make the biggest difference in developing confidence and making positive changes. ”


What's involved

The mentoring programme is crucial to providing positive futures for the children of prisoners. Children and their mentors engage in pro-social, fun, developmental activities aimed at making strong and supportive relationships.

Volunteer mentors meet with a young person on a regular basis usually fortnightly for two to six hours to do fun activities that they will enjoy together. Telephone, text or email contact continues during the week.

The idea is that a strong bond is created and a young person can get support to help with every day issues that are just part of growing up.

The Pillars mentoring coordinator will meet with the young person and find out about what they like to do eg. sports, surfing, art, fishing and many, many more. We will then find a volunteer mentor with the same or similar interests.

When the right mentor has been found, the mentoring coordinator will discuss this with the young person. If they agree, the mentoring coordinator will introduce the mentor to them and the parent / caregiver in the home of the young person - and the mentoring begins!

For young people you need to be 5-18 years, living in Christchurch or South Auckland and have a parent in prison to be part of the programme. Your parent caregiver needs to give consent and agree to ongoing contact with a Pillars staff member during the time of the mentoring.

Volunteer mentors are checked thoroughly to make sure they are of good character and that young people will be supported well during the activities. They do not have to have any qualifications, just be themselves. They are trained and supported by Pillars during the time of the programme.

All children and young people need a positive relationship with a caring person. This is mostly true if you have a parent in prison. It is not easy dealing with the imprisonment of a father or mother and wondering what the future may bring.

Our goal is that children and young people will have a real hope for their future.



Mentor profile: Destry

Destry was born to serve, he started out in the Army then moved on to the Royal New Zealand Airforce where is now a C130 Loadmaster. Destry’s week could see him flying to overseas countries with aid in the event of a natural disaster. Destry has three children of his own that are grown up now and starting to do their own thing and he thought it would be great to mentor another young man who needed a positive influence in his life. A friend suggested the Pillars programme would be an ideal fit for Destry to get involved in.

Destry was surprised at what a sheltered life his young mate lived compared to his own children and was pleased he could provide some new experiences for him to learn about the world around him. Destry is now mentoring for the second time a younger boy of primary school age whose favorite things are the armed forces and building things, he wants to be an architect one day. Destry and his mentee love doing all the 'bloke' stuff that he misses out on with a Dad in prison and two sisters at home.

"He had never been to a bowling alley, or a restaurant. Seeing him experience those things for the first time was really rewarding. He also likes sport like I do so it’s been great to take him to some games and also to show him what I do for work, it provides another outlook on life for him."



Become a mentor

Mentor and mentee lifejacket


Does this sound like you:
• Do you care about children and the issues they may be facing?
• Are you comfortable listening, talking and having fun with young people?
• Can you commit to spending 2-6 hours every fortnight for a full year?
• Do you have your own car?

If you answered YES to all of the above and are interested in being a mentor we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us and we will invite you to a no obligation intro session.

Email: enquiries@pillars.org.nz www.pillars.org.nz
Phone: 0508 PILLARS (0508 745527)