SAYes Youth Mentoring
A Message from Michelle Potter, Co-founder of SAYes:
Sabine Schmidt has been an incredible support to SAYes for some years. Not only has she established an organisation to raise funds for SAYes, she has also mentored young people in care in Germany which means she fully understands what we are doing and why. Sabine volunteers an enormous amount of her time to SAYes and she is an important part of the team. She visits us each year to attend our programme graduation and works tirelessly in our office for 4-5 weeks during her visit.
We are incredibly grateful to Sabine and her colleagues at Friends of SAYes Germany for their committed support of our work.
Executive Director, SAYes
SAYes Documentary 2015
Creating Social Change Through Mentoring | Reducing Social Inequality
SAYes was founded in 2008 to improve outcomes for young people transitioning out of care (children’s homes) in South Africa. SAYes designs evidence-based interventions for young people aged between 14 and 25, and then uses trained mentors to deliver transition content and actively link mentored youth to opportunities available. The Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Youth Mentoring Programme bridges the gap between the children’s home and community through one-to-one, person-centred mentoring which focuses on building informed choices and healthy practices.
More than 15,000 young people are living in registered children’s homes in South Africa, often placed there by the courts due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or displacement. While the homes provide a level of care, research has shown that young people living in institutional care often become marginalised from their communities, and are massively underprepared for life outside of a children’s home. In South Africa, government support stops at the age of 18 and there is currently no transitional support for these young people when they are then required to leave the homes.
How SAYes Meets the Need
Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Mentoring Programme:
SAYes matches each young person with a volunteer mentor. Mentors are carefully screened and trained to carry out formal mentoring within a structured programme. Mentors are taught to provide guidance, advocacy and support during weekly face-to-face meetings over a period of nine months. They also attend monthly transition workshops with their mentees and make use of online tools, Resource Partners and Drop-in Mentors to support their mentoring activities. TIL mentoring improves the young person’s independence and well-being across both achievement and developmental domains. Mentors help mentees to make informed choices in SAYes’ key focus areas: Education and Learning, Career Development, Housing and Citizenship, Sport and Recreation and Family and Community. During the year a Match Support team, made up of qualified counsellors and social workers, monitor and support the mentors and mentees while working in partnership with the staff at the children’s homes. SAYes also provides transition training and tools to social workers and youth care workers at the homes to improve their transition planning service. Each November a graduation ceremony is held for all those who completed the year. All mentee graduates are invited to reapply for an additional year with a new mentor. Mentees can continue this process up until the age of 25. From the age of 26 they are invited to apply as mentors.
For more information, please visit www.sa-yes.com