When I started reading this email message I received from Karen Nelson, I was astounded. I work hard to share content and ideas that people find useful and engaging here on “KellyFairTheMentor.” And, it was so rewarding and surprising to get a note from someone who was reading our blog, and who found me all the way in South Africa! Karen and her friend Hayley have partnered to begin establishing a mentoring program in their community in South Africa. They’re in the very early stages of developing and implementing their pilot program, but they’ve done a whole lot of research, identified partners in the community, and have been working on building their curriculum.
- teenage pregnancies
- impact of gangsterism
- dysfunctional homes
- alcoholism and drug abuse
- sub-standard levels of education
Karen and Haley were hesitant when I asked that they share pictures, because they felt they were too early on in establishing their mentoring program, and didn’t have the slick marketing material to properly present themselves. But, I’m so thankful that they obliged, because there’s so much beauty and power in sharing these pictures, and their story of how they’re getting started. It’s encouraging, because sometimes just getting started is actually the hardest part with running a mentoring program. And, the learning and innovation in developing your program never stops. I wanted to share their story because we’ve may have been where they are now, may currently be at this stage, or encouraged to move forward by the great amount of progress these two have already made.
I think we often mistakenly think that life on the other side of the globe has to be so starkly different than our own. When I think about it, I’m reminded of the chorus from a song from the 90’s from the rap group, Digital Underground. The lyrics from the song accurately and wisely stated, “all around the world it’s the same song.” And, it’s the same song when it comes to youth mentoring too, the same challenges, the same rewards, and the same experiences no matter where in the world we may be serving. But, we all will continue to grow in our individual efforts, and our efforts as a GLOBAL mentoring community when we share the good, the bad, and the ugly of our growth process. When one is successful and shares their knowledge then we all succeed. Please enjoy the pictures of Karen, Haley, their volunteers, and mentees at their first sessions below! I hope it serves as an inspiration. Somebody else I know started off with two girls at their first mentoring session, and her name is KellyFairTheMentor!