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Children who have adults in their lives who care about them, are willing and able to nurture their development and are good role models for them, have the best chance of growing up to become responsible, productive, caring adults themselves. (Mentoring: A promising strategy for youth development)
A story from one of Transformers mentors
Two years ago our minister asked me to mentor two of our church’s LITs (leaders in training) who had attended a “Transformers – Raising Up Young Leaders” camp. My mentees (one female and one male) were 12 years old. I believed that it was important to get to know them as individuals as soon as possible. While there was structured time when all the mentees (LITs) and their mentors met monthly after church, this was not sufficient to develop relationships. I touched base with both young people when I saw them on a Sunday, checking how their week had been. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses which I used for occasional conversations. I made a point of meeting with them each school holidays either at their home [the boy] or in a cafe [the girl].
At the Transformers group meetings we brainstormed ideas for achieving the Transformers’ Service Awards. Together we discussed areas of ministry within the church and LITs chose where they would like to minister/serve. Several of them are still continuing to serve in this way. It made our young people more visible and good for everyone in the congregation to realise how capable they are.
The Planning and Action Awards are inter-related. We also brainstormed ideas for these in the whole group. This was the area that I felt I was able to provide the most guidance, as I helped my LITs turn plans into actions. They both chose an action that needed to involve other people. They had to make decisions about the day and time and had to email the other Transformers to ask who wanted to be involved with their action and email them afterwards to thank them. One of my Transformers LITs chose to fund raise for a CWS project. This required him to email CWS to ask for information. He then had to write a Church Bulletin notice advertising the fundraising event, ask for helpers, manage the money raised and write a report of the event for our church magazine and for CWS. To assist him with the process, I asked leading questions eg What do you need to do first to make this happen? What do you need to do next?
Both young people have gone to a church secondary schools and the boy’s sport means we now seldom see him at church. He tells me he goes to church every week day at school! I’m still involved with this family though as they sought me out when they had behaviour problems with their son. I still have a lovely relationship with the girl I mentored. She seeks me out for a chat most Sundays and we have continued the occasional cafe get-together. It’s so pleasing to notice her growing in confidence and ability and exercising leadership in our church. She will soon be able to be a mentor for a new group of Transformers LITs.