Not so shy any more

The mentoring connection is powerful, builds confidence and improves the students’ sense of wellbeing, which sets them up for success when they start high school.

A great example of the power of the mentoring relationship to release untapped potential is Evie* from Avondale Intermediate.

Although she began the 2020 school year as a shy and quiet girl who lacked confidence and kept to herself, by the end of the year she had completely come out of herself and begun to achieve academically as well as making friendships with other students and getting involved in school activities.

Her mentor, Kevin, says “The first time I met Evie was a bit awkward… it took a bit of time and encouragement, but she opened up. She used to just sit by herself at lunchtime, but after she had been in MATES a while she started interacting, not just with me but with the other mentors and students, making friends and joining in.”

Confidence improves for students with MATESKevin talks about the way Evie would light up when she talked about the engineering competition she had entered and the projects she was working on, as she gained confidence.

“She was really passionate about what she was doing. Giving her the time to talk and really trying to listen and understand her helped her to grow in confidence. Even the way she holds herself and interacts with others has improved.”

Evie’s teacher agrees: “MATES really helped Evie come out of herself. It made a big difference to her having someone to talk things through with. She ended up having an amazing year – she doesn’t know it yet but she’s getting a heap of awards at Prizegiving. I put that largely down to MATES.”MATES Junior Mentoring 2020

Kevin also mentors a young boy called Caleb* from Papakura Intermediate, another mentee who was shy and lacked confidence in the beginning. As the mentoring relationship grew, Caleb became comfortable talking to his mentor about things he couldn’t talk about to anyone else.

Kevin says, “It wasn’t really bad stuff, but it was things that were hard for him to talk about to his teacher or his parents. Because of the relationship we built and the way he grew in confidence, as the year went on Caleb started talking more. His teacher told me that not only his confidence but his grades and attendance have also improved.”


*not their real names