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A Magical Match Made in Mentoring

01 December 2023
Young boy with Young man web

Lucas* was a vibrant nine-year-old boy whose heart overflowed with love for animals and a thirst for adventure. His young life had been marked by daunting challenges, as his family endured the hardships of his father’s cancer battle and his older brother’s health issues.

Amidst these struggles, Lucas started to face bullying at school, and he began to withdraw from learning the subjects he once loved. His Mum did her best to offer fun activities, but the family’s focus on health left little room for one-on-one attention.

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However, our Youth Mentor programme offered some inspiration. This programme paired young individuals like Lucas with compassionate mentors who shared their passions, bringing joy and support into their lives.

When Lucas’s mentor, Jake*, an insurance professional in his late twenties, stepped into the picture, things started to change in ways that no one could have predicted.

The bond between Jake and Lucas was instantaneous, fuelled by their shared love for animals and their shared zest for exploration. Together, they embarked on fun journeys, uncovering new places, and creating precious memories. 

On a recent four-wheel drive adventure along the Waimakariri River, they cooked pikelets at the riverfront—an experience that meant the world to Lucas. It was a moment of pure joy, something he needed in his life. For the first time in years, Lucas relished dedicated attention and companionship. With Jake’s gentle guidance, his confidence soared.

He felt safe to express his feelings and fears, knowing he had someone who genuinely cared, unburdened by the constant health-related stress that had plagued his family. The once timid and withdrawn boy began to flourish, bravely embracing challenges and, importantly, starting to stand up to bullies at school. Jake’s positive influence helped Lucas find the strength within himself to confront the bullies and build self-assurance.

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Tragically, a year before the mentoring began, Lucas had experienced a devastating loss. His best friend, Max*, had died in an accident. It was a heartbreaking event that had cast a shadow over Lucas’s life, leaving him to grapple with grief and sadness.

The pain of Max’s loss was still fresh when Jake entered Lucas’s life, and
it was a pivotal moment in their mentorship. Jake became a pillar of support for Lucas, helping him navigate the storm of sorrow. Their bond grew even stronger as Lucas leaned on Jake for strength and comfort. Jake provided a sense of stability and understanding that Lucas desperately needed.

The impact of this mentoring relationship extended far beyond Lucas’s emotional wellbeing. His school performance continued to improve, and his family found solace in witnessing his positive transformation. Knowing Lucas was thriving under Jake’s mentorship lightened the burden of their health issues, even in the face of the tragic loss of Max.

With Lucas’s love for exploration, he found a mentor who illuminated his path, leaving a lasting impact on his life — one magical adventure at a time.

*Names and photos have been changed to protect privacy.

Will you support our work? 

By donating today, you're supporting children like Lucas* to build confidence and resilience. 

Positive role models are important to a child or young person's development.

For some tamariki, events or circumstances out of their control can make them more vulnerable to negative influences. That's when a mentor outside usual family networks can be of enormous help.

Mentors must:

  • Ideally commit to 12 months or more
  • Have a clean NZ Drivers licence
  • Have English as their first language
  • Be able to dedicate 1-2hrs a week and 1.5hrs a month for training/supervision Monthly supervision sessions enable mentors to share ideas and suggestions and talk about what they have been doing.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, you can contact Ange directly at angelaa@psusi.org.nz for Christchurch/Ōtautahi, or marlboroughmentoring@psusi.org.nz for Marlborough/Waiharakeke opportunities.

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