Volunteers needed for mentoring programme

Mentoring Cayman, jointly funded and supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Education, is looking for 50 volunteers for its next programme starting January 2007.

The programme, which pairs adult volunteers and high schoolers with similar interests, aims to assist students gain workplace experience and reach their full potential, stated a press release.

Since its inception four years ago, Mentoring Cayman has rapidly expanded into one of the Islands’ most promising youth programmes, said its chairperson, Kim Remizowski. This, he suggested, was due to the high calibre and dedication of past volunteers.

The goals of Mentoring Cayman include: motivating students to achieve higher school grades, introduce them to new career paths and help them understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Volunteers from all industry sectors are encouraged to participate. In the past every major industry and profession has been represented, including schools, community organisations, businesses, and government, the release added.

High school students are carefully matched with mentors based on the mutual interests of both parties. Each mentor and the student meet for six sessions of one school day per month.

The student and mentor meet at the mentor’s place of work and also participate in two social sessions outside of work.

All mentors are carefully screened and training is required. The next training session for mentors takes place in mid-November 2006.

‘Mentoring is an ideal way to assist high school students through a challenging period of their lives,’ says Chamber CEO Wil Pineau, who has served as a mentor for two students since the start of the programme.

The Minister of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture Alden McLaughlin said, ‘One of the key goals of the Ministry’s transformation of the education system is to bring more career awareness and relevance into the education process for young people.

‘Mentoring Cayman exposes students to the workplace environment and culture. In doing so it affords them insight they may otherwise be denied, and helps inform and stimulate the process by which they will make vital life-decisions.

‘Mentors can make a very real and positive difference to a young person’s life, and I implore anybody who can spare a little time to get involved in this programme.’

Mentors serve as role models, offer advice on academic and career goals and guide students as they begin to develop professional networks.

Such volunteering can not only provide the mentor with the immense satisfaction from helping another person grow, but also provides the opportunity to develop interpersonal, communication, and listening skills, increased self-awareness, as well as satisfy the desire to help others to feel valued and to put something back into the community.

Students get to explore their mentor’s professional life and network through office visits and other professional development functions. Such exposure can in turn improve self-confidence and self-esteem, increase motivation, broaden horizons and experience, as well as raise achievements and aspirations.

FYI

Those interested in becoming a mentor and would like further information should contact Joanne Diaz-Berry at the Chamber of Commerce, 949-8090.

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