The Youth Mentoring Network


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Quality Relationships in Youth Mentoring - download a copy of the full workbook

We are pleased to be able to make an electronic copy of the full workbook from our Sharing the Kaupapa - Quality Relationships in Youth Mentoring available free of charge.

We delivered 18 of these workshops around the country over the last 18 months with over 450 people attending. They have been incredibily well received. Thank you to Rod Baxter and Ross McCook our 2 facilitators for the tremendous work you have done delivering these.

It was really disappointing to have to cancel our last workshop which was to be held in Invercargill on the 25th March 2020 due to the CoVid 19 outbreak. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule this at a later date but in the meantime we thought it would be helpful to make the workbook available for people to access.

Click on this link here.  Sharing the Kaupapa Workshop Booklet Series Two

MentorPlus (mentoring skills) workshop - rescheduled, 11th and 12th August 2020

We are pleased to advise that we have now rescheduled our 2 day MentorPlus workshop which we had to cancel in May due to the Covid 19 lockdown. The new details are:

Date: 11th and 12th August

Location: Rose Park Hotel, 92 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland

Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm

Cost: $380 plus GST (there is free parking at the venue and the cost covers all catering).

Please complete the registration form if you would like to register. registration form

If you have any questions, please email Joy on


Ten pieces of advice for the teachers of young brown scholars, by Dr Michelle Johansson

1. Raise the bar. Don't dumb it down because they are brown, respect them enough to expect their best, and when they bring to you less, say THIS is not good enough, not YOU are not good enough. They've been told that enough and it's rough and they're tough, but the stuff that they're made of is enough.

2. BELIEVE unfailingly in their limitless potential. They will look in your eyes and know if you are lying.

3. Feed them. Literally. Feed them. Feed their minds, feed their mouths and feed their hunger for justice. Break bread with them and remember that when you take communion a covenant is made and there was a promise in that supper, that blood shed and shared means sacrifice.

4. Laugh. Laugh at yourself. But not at your jokes. Your jokes are dry but you are funny - And in laughter there's power; and in humour there's humility - and this ranks higher than their academic standing or rank score - it is more.

5. No one ever changed the world by yelling at it. Fear might change their behaviour but respect will change their mind.

6. Know that you are in the presence of warriors. They have fought. There are fighting. There are battles behind their eyes; and you cannot possibly understand the arms they bear, the scars they wear. Don't make the classroom another trek behind enemy lines. Sometimes they need a soft place to land, a safe space to stand, someone willing to understand. And if this is not the lesson you planned? perhaps it is the lesson YOU need.

7. Be the grown up and own up when you're wrong, be strong enough to fail sometimes, to ask for help sometimes. Be the mistake maker, the risk taker, give them permission to do the same. Be fallible, be malleable - take the shape of the tool that's needed coz ako means that if they’re not learning then you’re not teaching and if nothing ever changes, then nothing ever changes.

8. When they rage at you - and often they will coz often they're fill up and fed up with their lives and they throw words like knives at your feet - don't throw them back. Pick those knives up and see them for what they are. Not weapons thrown to hurt YOU but to relieve THEM. They could not carry them anymore. And you? Pick the knives off the floor, throw them out of the door and begin again.

9. Defend them. Inherent in their postcode. You will hear stories of failure that's prevalent in the pigment of their skin and Don't let that shit happen on your shift. It is your duty to tell a new story.

10. Stand WITH them and FOR them and BY them. Speak with them and for them. See them and know them for who they are. Hold them - in your arms, in your thoughts, in your prayers.

Don't let go.
Fight for them.
And keep fighting.
They are worth it.
And If you back them when they're 15?
They will have your back for life.

Catch up on Dr. Julia Pryce's Attunement presentation at Involve 2018

It was wonderful to see many of you at Dr. Julia Pryce’s presentation as part of our Involve National conference in Wellington in August. We hope you found her topic useful and exciting, as she works to help us equip mentoring staff, and mentors themselves, with the skills needed to build strong connection in our relationships.

For those of you who were unable to attend in person, we are pleased to be able to provide an abbreviated copy of her Powerpoint Presentation. If you would like to learn more about the Mentoring FAN tool that she introduced, please email her directly at at and she can share more.

Here is the link to her presentation: Involve 2018 ATTUNEMENT PRESENTATION

Dr. Pryce’s presentation was focused on the concept of attunement; our ability to be flexible and responsive, managing our own needs with that of the other, in youth mentoring programs. Dr. Pryce is working closely with colleagues in Chicago (namely Dr. Linda Gilkerson, who developed the original FAN) and here in New Zealand (Drs. Deane and Bullen of University of Auckland) to develop a greater, cross-cultural understanding of the nature of attunement and its measurement. Dr. Pryce emphasized the challenge that youth workers face in remaining grounded and present in the midst of the stressors of their work, and how those stressors may move us to think about our days as “checking off our list of to-do’s”, rather than building relationships. She also highlighted the importance of attunement across the system of relationships that characterize youth mentoring, including that between staff-mentor and staff-youth, as well as mentor-youth pairs.

Dr. Pryce, along with Drs. Deane and Bullen, are exploring with the Network other ways that she may be able to use her research to help support strong mentoring practice here in New Zealand. Please do not hesitate to contact the Network, or Dr. Pryce directly, should you have interest in further exploring attunement measurement or training.

Catch up on Edith "Winx" Lawrence's presentation - A competence approach to mentoring

It was wonderful to see many of you at Edith "Winx" Lawrence's presentation in Auckland a couple of weeks ago.  We hope you found her topic really valuable and thought provoking.

For those of you who were unable to attend in person we are pleased to be able to provide a copy of the handout Winx shared together with her Powerpoint presentation. 

Bringing Out Their Best. New Zealand 2018

YWLP Handout

Winx's presentation was focused on the Young Women’s Leaders Program she developed at the University of Virginia - with university students mentoring targeted middle-school girls, which has now expanded to several other countries. Despite the specific focus of this work, it was great to see the diversity of our audience, who found so much relevance in the rich range of information that was generously made available.

She noted the universal truth of the importance of language. Leadership is a powerful and positive concept, equally relevant to both age groups of the young women. Based on self-determination theory, the program faces up to challenging issues like “How to have difficult conversations?”

Winx also emphasised the importance of training for mentors and that there is widespread under-estimation of the support needed to do a good job – while peer-mentoring needs lots of adult support. Quoting from US mentoring guru Jean Rhodes (2002) she memorably shared “When the tool of change is a close relationship, everyone involved should proceed with caution.”

NZYMN is very grateful to our academic colleagues at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland, who have made it possible for us to co-host a range of distinguished US professors speaking on various aspects of Youth Mentoring over the years.



SureSkills online training opportunities - help strengthen your skills and confidence when working with children and youth

SureSkills believe positive youth health and wellbeing outcomes is a right for all young people. Delivering positive outcomes is a skill.

With over three decades of experience and expertise, SureSkills provides 2 skills based learning pathways comprising 8 skills based courses available in elearning, blended and face to face formats.

All of our courses are accredited, skills focused and valuable to anyone connected to Youth health and wellbeing.

Our model delivers skills training that builds skilled people to improve positive outcomes for youth. Click here to invest in your learning.

SureSkills is the the best online platform to upskill you in improving outcomes for young people - check out our website

Conversations for Change - free resource for those who work with young people 

The Conversations for Change resource has been created by Mind and Body Consultants, as part of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme which is managed by the Health Promotions Agency (HPA). 

It is designed to reduce stigma and discrimination connected to mental distress and to increase social inclusion.

It contains comprehensive facilitator's guides to five group activities which challenge stigma and discrimination, and generate safe conversations about mental distress.

The resource aims to encourage young people to reach out for support, and to include and support each other. The activities are creative, lively, and easy to implement.

All resources are fully downloadable at

Listen to Professor Renée Spencer presentation on Youth Initiated Mentoring

It was wonderful to see many of you at Professor Spencer's presentations in Auckland and Wellington earlier this month. We hope you found her topic of Youth Initiated Mentoring really interesting and thought provoking. 

For those of you who were unable to attend in person we are pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to listen to the Professor's Auckland presentation. 

Here is the link to the Audio recording and the corresponding Powerpoint presentation. The recording is just under 50 minutes in duration. 

Professor Spencer provided a comprehensive analysis of how this innovative new approach in mentoring practice can influence the entire mentoring process from mentor recruitment and selection through to matching and closure.

A couple of key points of difference that really stood out for me were firstly, around mentoring expectations. As the young people already have knowledge of their potential mentor, they tend to have more realistic expectations for the mentoring relationship rather than some idealised view. Secondly, the approach provides a really strong platform for 'youth voice and choice' in that the young person has significant input into who will be their mentor which in turn can increase the likelihood of the relationship going the distance.

The research findings Professor Spencer shared with us are showing some promising trends, particularly with higher-risk young people. NZYMN sees some real potential for adopting this approach in the NZ environment and we look forward to continuing the conversation. 

Thank you to Pat Bullen, University of Auckland, Faculty of Education and Social Work and the Hon Nikki Kaye, Minister for Youth for making these presentations possible.

Youth Mentoring Resources - fun activities to bring to your mentoring sessions

When you are stuck for an idea on what to do with your mentee (young person) at your next meeting then this repository of activities is a great place to start. It covers a wide range of areas including: communication; relationship building; positive attitude and identity; culture and diversity and academic support. Thank you to the University of Auckland, the Great Potentials Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation for making this repository of activities freely available for everyone to use in their mentoring sessions.

Click on the following link to access these activities:

Jono Selu, Information Resources Specialist at the Mental Health Foundation, reviews Guide to Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring by the NZ Youth Mentoring Network

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) publish regular book or app reviews to highlight what's out there to read or learn about mental health and wellbeing.

This month Jono Selu, Information Resources Specialist at the Mental Health Foundation reviewed the 2nd Edition of the Guide to Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring. 

Here is the link to his blog review.

NZYMN announce the launch of the 2nd edition of the Guide to Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring, Aotearoa New Zealand

The New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network is delighted to announce the launch of the second edition of the Guide to Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring, Aotearoa New Zealand.

The first edition, published in 2008, was a benchmark document that drew together essential knowledge for New Zealand’s emerging youth mentoring sector.

The 2nd edition has been refreshed and updated with the latest research in effective youth mentoring practice, and the new safety checking and child protection policy guidelines introduced as part of the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014.

Our aim, in producing the 2nd edition is to provide a single Guide for New Zealand that seamlessly promotes safe and effective practice in youth mentoring to help ensure positive outcomes for young people.

You may download a .pdf version of the Guide here. 

NZYMN Effective Practice Guide, 2nd Edition

To order a printed copy of the Guide, plese send an A4 stamped addressed envelope to: 

New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network
P O Box 99726
Auckland 1149

Standard postage is $3.00

Michael-karcherListen to Professor Michael J. Karcher’s Auckland presentation

We were delighted to host Professor Karcher, Unversity of Texus, leading United States mentoring researcher and co-editor of both editions of the Handbook of Youth Mentoring, last month for a presentation in Auckland. 

We were completely humbled by Professor Karcher’s commitment to offer the best possible support during his brief visit to NZ – to the extent that he decided to revise his planned address and undertake significant research into NZ circumstances

We took the opportunity to record Professor Karchers address and have included the link to the recording.  It is just over an hour long and finishes just before a video clip he used from the Kung Fu Panda movie which depicts the need as a mentor to ‘trust the process - it is not about trying to fix the young person’.

In his presentation, Professor Karcher really explored the continuum of developmental relationships between adults and young people to help define mentoring and describe how it works.  He spoke at length about the concept of VIPs – ‘very important people’ in young people’s lives and referred to an excellent quote by Richard Lerner (Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University) “Our calling someone a mentor does not make them one. No one is a mentor until the mentee sees them as one”.

Listen to Prof. Toni Zimmerman's presentation on mentoring at risk youth

It was really good to see so many of you at Distinguished visitor Professor Toni Zimmerman's presentations in Wellington and Auckland last month.  The NZYMN welcomed the opportunity to co-host these presentations with the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education.  Thank you to Dr. Pat Bullen and the University of Auckland for sponsoring the Professor's visit. 

For those of you who were unable to attend in person we are pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to listen to the Professor's Auckland presentation. 

Read more

Listen to Prof. Toni Zimmerman's presentation on mentoring at risk youth

It was really good to see so many of you at Distinguished visitor Professor Toni Zimmerman's presentations in Wellington and Auckland last month.  The NZYMN welcomed the opportunity to co-host these presentations with the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education.  Thank you to Dr. Pat Bullen and the University of Auckland for sponsoring the Professor's visit. 

For those of you who were unable to attend in person we are pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to listen to the Professor's Auckland presentation. 

The link to the Audio is at the bottom of webpage opens here.

The presentation is approximately one hour in duration and concludes just before the end of the Q&A session.  Prof. Zimmerman is a very accomplished and engaging public speaker and does not use many slides during her presentation. You may therefore find it valuable to scroll through the excellent introductory power point presentation from the home page of the Colorado State University Campus Corps webpage while listening to her speak

The main focus of the Professor’s presentation is the Campus Corps youth mentoring model she and her colleagues developed in response to an identified community need to better serve at-risk youth.  The young people being referred to Campus Corps from Youth Justice, Social Services agencies and schools are presenting with some of the most challenging behavioural and mental health issues.  The mentoring model has a unique three-pronged approach to address their specific needs: 

  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Mentoring pairs also engage in group-based activities, and
  • Family Therapists are onsite to support youth as needed.

The programme has been running for about six years now and is achieving some very promising outcomes. Research results show that among the youth that attend Campus Corps, thereis  improvement in the following areas:  

  • Reduced truancy
  • Reduced substance use
  • Reduced delinquent behavior
  • Improved attitudes about substance use, and
  • Improved psychological well being.

Participation in the programme for the mentors is also showing some very positive results and is associated with 63% lower odds of dropping out of university in any given year.  Student mentors reported:

  • Improved leadership skills
  • Improved ability to manage stress
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Expanded commitment to civic action, and
  • Enriched interpersonal skills

Professor Zimmerman’s experiences certainly highlight important strategies for working effectively with vulnerable youth. More specifically how to: sustain matches; engage in safe group-based activities; support youth autonomy; and provide therapy in the moment. The Campus Corps model  also highlights the benefits of youth mentoring as a service learning activity. Since Professor Zimmerman’s visit there has been significant interest in the Campus Corps model. A team of academics and government officials are currently exploring how this model could be adapted and implemented here in Aotearoa. The NZYMN is delighted with the interest generated from Professor Zimmerman’s presentations and will continue to keep you informed of any progress.

Invitation to register your programme with the Youth Mentoring Network

Do you offer mentoring services to young people in your community? Do you need to recruit more mentors? If your answer to either question is YES, we encourage you to register your programme with the Youth Mentoring Network.

We receive numerous enquiries from people wanting to volunteer to mentor a young person. We also receive many requests from parents and caregivers, social workers and school counsellors asking for help to find mentors for young people under their care.

Two recent articles from The Chronicle of Evidence Based Mentoring

Chronicle of Evidence based mentoring_opt (1)

  • Strategies that formal mentoring programs can use to facilitate natural mentoring relationships.  article
  • How to use the power of mentoring to support students academically article

Fatima Leung-Wai from Roots Collective talks with Cris Smith from West Lynn. Photo / Dean Purcell

Mentors make a difference

Volunteers make a difference to communities throughout New Zealand, one young person at a time, finds Dionne Christian (NZ Herald, Saturday 15 March 2014)

On any given weekends, all across New Zealand, there are people who are volunteering their time to guide and advise young people. These volunteer mentors belong to a raft of programmes (some home-grown; some international) which aim to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.

Programmes may involve one-to-one mentoring or be in a group or community.

Read more here.

         powerup mentoring
Tyler McCarthy (centre at back), with Quinton, 9, (centre left) Mercedez, 7, mum Lemalu and dad Sa. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Mentoring initiative success

NZ Herald:  Wednesday 19 March 2014

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Tyler McCarthy knows that in order to get to where he wants to be one day, he has to work hard now.

So when a mentoring programme started up at his church last year, he knew he had to get involved.

The 16-year-old, a year 12 student at Kelston Boys High, enrolled at the Pasifika Power Up station at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, in Te Atatu.

"It was good because it helped me to really focus. At home, it can be hard because my little brother and sister are always coming into my room.

"But at Power Up, I was with other kids who were focused too and were really wanting to pass their NCEA."

Read more here.