Mentoring matters for children of prisoners, who often come from unstable pasts and uncertain futures. Our mentors not only change children’s lives, but they change their own. They act as an Aunty, Uncle, big brother, or big sister figure who are the joke tellers, adventurers, and trusted supporters that these children have been missing.
Read some of the real differences our mentors have had on our rangatahi's lives.
J (7) was very young when his father went to prison for family violence. There was an attempt to reconnect when his Dad was released but often J was left waiting on the doorstep for his father to arrive. As a result, J struggled to trust adults., J did not have any positive male role models in his life, until he was matched with his mentor.
As soon as the pair met, they instantly hit it off. Connecting over a love of cars, they bonded over rallies and dirt bike racing. His mentor recently said, “J is so full of beans, always at 100%, I feel like I’m doing something right when he falls asleep in the car on our way home from our days out.”
This mentor match has made the world of difference to J.
L (9) is the oldest of 7 siblings. With their whare quite chaotic at times, he often fades into the background. Having a mentor has completely brought him out of his shell.
His mentor is a positive male role model in his life, having both dad and stepdad in prison. Through their mutual love of a good joke and a good burger, the two have formed an incredible bond. Offering gentle support with school and helping with reading, his mentor is keeping him engaged in education: an important and vital pathway to positive futures.
From suffering with severe anxiety to being an absolute chatterbox. That is the difference mentoring can make.
C (14) struggled with her father’s arrest, dealing with feelings of stigma, grief, and shame. It has been very difficult for C to leave the house or be in crowded places.
Enter her mentor, who is warm, kind, empathetic and highly intuitive. Because of her mentor, C can enjoy being a teenager again, talking non-stop when they are together; showing how safe and comfortable she is in her mentor’s company. They even took a massive step together, attending Pillars big annual Christmas party. They chose a comfortable spot under a tree to watch the activities, but her attendance was a huge step forward.
You can make a real difference in a young person’s life, all while kicking a ball around, cracking jokes, and providing Pillars young people with quality time, experiences, and opportunities outside of their horizons.
Show tamariki that there is a different future, that there are trusted, reliable adults out there.