"I see their confidence and self-esteem growing and growing"

Michelle Potter



Becoming a transition mentor is a unique opportunity to impact the life of a young person as they face significant life transitions. We train and support volunteer mentors and individually match them with a young person aged between 14 and 25. Our mentors give one hour of their time each week to meeting with their mentee and also attend monthly transition workshops. We provide our mentors with mentoring tools, access to business and non-profit partners, and specialised programme content. We also ensure our mentors and mentees receive ongoing support from qualified programme specialists throughout the year.

Register to attend a presentation/request an application


The SAYes programme runs annually, beginning with mentor training and matching in January/February and ending with match closure meetings in October. Prospective mentor applications are considered from April of the current year for the next year's programme. The deadline for applications for our 2018 programmes is February 28th.

SAYes mentoring involves a minimum time commitment, including attendance at training and match days, weekly face-to-face meetings (one hour) and participation in monthly programme workshops (two hours each).
SAYes mentors undergo a full day of training before being matched with a mentee, and take part in a further two (two-hour) training sessions during the year.
SAYes mentors are matched with a mentee through a combination of proximity (near your workplace or residential area) and gender (same sex). Each year, we do facilitated matching using psychometric profiles on values, interests and personality orientations to help mentees choose the right mentor for them. Mentors attend a match day at the beginning of the year.
SAYes mentors meet with their mentees for at least one hour every week in person (between February and October). There are periods during the year when mentees might be unavailable to meet face-to-face (e.g., during school holidays). Likewise mentors are sometimes unavailable to meet in person due to work commitments, family holidays, and so on. During these times, meetings may take place remotely (e.g., via the telephone or Internet).

For the Group Care Programmes face-to-face meetings occur at the children's home or off-site with the social worker's permission. Adult mentees (over 18 years) are given a transport allowance to make their way to an agreed meeting place.
SAYes programmes are delivered in eight two-hour workshops run at weekends over the course of the year. We believe that the content provided through our workshops is most likely to impact youth if it is experienced within the context of mentorship. Therefore, rather than relying on information provision alone, SAYes works with mentors to facilitate guided and self-directed learning for their mentees.

Our workshops introduce evidence-based practices to improve aspects of well-being and health in selected developmental domains. In addition our workshops introduce information, resources and opportunities relevant to defining and achieving transition goals.

During the year, SAYes non-profit partners also offer their programmes (workshops, camps, outings) to SAYes mentees. Mentors decide with their mentees which of these programmes they might like to jointly attend.
Mentoring in the SAYes programmes runs from February to October. Once a match has been made, mentors and mentees are required to honour their commitment to the mentoring relationship. SAYes programme support specialists work hard to support each match by keeping in regular contact with the homes, mentees and mentors. Many mentoring relationships extend informally beyond the duration of the SAYes programme, however this is not required. Youth who re-enrol in the programme are always matched with a new mentor the following year.
Mentees and mentors who complete the SAYes programmes attend a graduation day in November.
SAYes requires mentors to be 26 years of age or older, to have an understanding of spoken and written English, access to the Internet, a unique email address, their own mobile phone, and ready access to transport. Mentors must also be willing to undergo a criminal background check and disclose their psychiatric history (a criminal record or history of mental illness does not necessarily exclude applicants).
Mentors check in with SAYes weekly by completing an online form, which takes around two minutes to fill in. Mentors and mentees also complete brief online forms throughout the year for both monitoring (to check on the quality of the mentoring relationship) and evaluation purposes (to note practical and developmental outcomes). All check-ins with SAYes staff are carried out in English. SAYes staff also regularly engage with mentors by telephone and via email.
Mentors use either their own or public transport to visit their mentees weekly.
SAYes requires a criminal record check on all prospective mentors from every country in which they have lived (as adults) for more than three months. The South African background check is conducted at SAYes offices through the NeVeTeC Police clearance system, as well as through submission of a Form 29 to the Director-General (National Child Protection Register). Police clearance from countries other than South Africa must be obtained by the applicant (SAYes will direct you to the appropriate country office and refund your clearance fee upon presentation of a receipt).
SAYes requires that prospective mentors disclose their past five-year psychiatric history, including diagnosed substance use disorders. Please note that mental illness does not necessarily exclude prospective mentors.
SAYes welcomes all applications from people who are well-positioned in terms of time and approach to be effective transition mentors. We comprehensively train and support both the SAYes approach to mentorship (guidance, advocacy, support) and to transition planning (context, strengths, plan, accountability) for mentors in our programme - so we are confident that you can make a positive difference.

That said, in our experience, the most effective mentors are those whose character, experience and education are well-aligned to inspire and inform leaders of social change.
SAYes encourages applications from volunteers who are independent, knowledgeable and experienced (e.g., self-supporting and/or financially stable, intelligent, educated, accomplished/established in their career/role, with varied life experience), with great networks in both their career and social life, and a great relationship style (e.g., open-minded, enthusiastic, approachable, caring, self-aware, stable). Mentors prepare young people for independence/autonomy by offering guidance (knowledge and insight), advocacy (networks of introduction and opportunity) and support (care and encouragement).