The Youth Mentoring Network

For Mentors

Mentoring Stories

MATES - My journey as a mentor

My journey as a mentor:

MATES-StoryMy name is Sarah McLean and I am a mentor for the MATES Senior programme. Last year I had the opportunity to mentor Lavei Vaiola, a lovely young woman from Onehunga High School. At the beginning of our mentee-mentor relationship, as you could expect it was a bit awkward, as we adjusted to our roles that we both had never held before. As internals, due dates, sports games and the school ball flashed by, and the anticipation of externals and university ensuing I noticed something different about Lavei. She was not only taking critiques well, she was actually searching for critiques, to ensure she was doing the best she could. She was honing her maturity, responsibility and drive to succeed in a way that myself and the other mentors were thoroughly impressed with.

When it came to the end of year dinner, where the mentees graduate, I couldn’t help myself but beam with pride when Lavei went up to get her certificate. She had gone from being a year 13 stranger to essentially becoming a friend and a little sister to me.

I recently asked Lavei what she liked about MATES and she said; “I liked the encouragement that you and the MATES programme gave me. It felt good to have people behind me, it made me feel invincible when it came to internals and externals. You all had obviously survived through high school and made it to university. It made me realise, I can survive too, knowing that you all, had been in my place at some point.”

Knowing that Lavei had such a positive experience with myself, with MATES and is succeeding, it does fill me with emotion. I am proud of Lavei and her success, I am grateful to have played a rather large role in her early stages of adulthood and that not only did Lavei trust me to help guide her but so did her family and Great Potentials. Even to this day I keep in touch with Lavei and I hope that our friendship will continue on for many more years to come, and that she knows that no matter what, I am always here for her.


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