Mentorship Success Stories
Mentor Spotlight- Thuleleni Mpanza
I am forever grateful for being one of the Mentors at the PYMA. There are innumerable things that have helped me grow and learn during this mentorship journey. The mentor-ship journey has opened my eyes to the different challenges that our young people face daily; whilst they also soldier on to get the education, they need to gain the confidence they require to have a voice to stand boldly against the challenges they are faced with.
Reading and hearing about stories faced by learners in this world is different from having conversations with learners faced with such challenges. Being a mentor at PYMA has given me an opportunity to help some of the learners to look beyond the challenges they face by igniting hope to some of our youngsters because, as the child of God, I strongly believe that our present sufferings cannot compare to the good things that are yet to be revealed to us by our God-Romans 8:18
The mentor program contributes strongly to the major objective of influencing learner retention in the PYMA program. The evaluation data has revealed that this result is achieved by providing a range of benefits not only to mentees but also to mentors and coordinating staff members. Mentoring builds a sense of community between teaching areas, particularly during the shared preparation and participation within the program. The program also builds a sense of community among the participating parties (mentors & mentees). Our challenge is to take advantage of the findings that have emerged from the evaluation. Many of the mentor programs built a greater sense of community within the participating parties, resulting in qualitatively improving the mentee’s experience.
The preparation provided to mentors had tended to emphasize a role in identifying and assisting individual mentees who may be struggling. Whilst retaining the latter as an important task, it is useful to more explicitly include a community building goal into the mentor role. A teaching program as staff, current and new learners form stronger relationships with each other. These findings are consistent with the literature that indicates a range of positive outcomes from the mentoring program that benefits all participants and stakeholders, not simply the mentees.
We also note that the value of mentorship program increases over time. In the longer run, learners who have participated in mentor programs are likely take their place in their profession and continue to use the skills they have gained. As PYMA we anticipate that the greatest impact of the mentor program will be realized in several years when there are mentor groups who experienced being mentees, and there are graduates who have experienced being mentors. The participating staff likewise gain from the experience and can include more “value-adding” into their own programs. It is clearly a triple-win intervention.