SAYes Blog: Mentorship Musings

SAYes Transition Mentoring

Five Great Reasons to Become a SAYes Mentor

Mentors , Mar 14, 2019

This year, SAYes Mentoring has had a surge of interest from mentees who would like to have a mentor. Currently, 125 mentees have enrolled for the 2019 programme and are eager to be matched. We are thrilled at the prospect of reaching more young people through this year’s programme than any previous year. As we scale, our goal is to ensure that no young person in the Cape Town Metropole has to transition to adulthood alone.

In order to make this goal a reality, we’ve extended our mentor application deadlines until 15 March (tomorrow!) to be matched with mentees under 18, and 15 April to be matched with mentees over 18. This means there’s still an opportunity for you to become a mentor and become part of the positive social change South Africa needs, while deeply impacting a young person’s life.

We understand that signing up to mentor a young person is a serious commitment and requires deliberation and careful consideration to ensure it makes sense for you in your current circumstances. You may be wondering what the experience would mean for your life. To help your decision-making process, it might be helpful to consider these five key benefits of becoming a SAYes mentor:

  • Social change, done right. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in giving back to your community and understand the importance of playing an active role in social change. We know it can be overwhelming to decide how to act on those values, which causes and organisations to get involved with, and especially, where you think you can make a meaningful difference. At SAYes, we’ve designed a highly specialised and structured mentoring programme that is purpose-built to maximise impact and promote the well-being and independence of our mentees. When you start the mentoring programme you’ll receive in-depth training. SAYes programme staff will then closely support you throughout your nine-month mentorship. You can be sure that with SAYes, you will have a profound effect on a young person and the broader community. With SAYes, you can be sure that the time you dedicate to social change, will be time well spent.


  • Create a stronger, more united society. When is the last time you sat down for an in-depth conversation with a young person? For most of us, it’s been a while. And yet, as our future leaders, youth hold the well-being of our society in their hands. Anyone living in South Africa knows how important dialogue is to the fabric of social justice in this country, and mentoring a young person through a programme like SAYes creates unprecedented opportunities for dialogue and knowledge exchange between people from different corners of society. When a young person gains new skills, knowledge and perspective to help them thrive as independent adults, society at large benefits. As our founder and executive director, Michelle Potter, puts it: “SAYes provides an opportunity for two individuals – a mentor and a mentee – who may never have crossed paths otherwise, to come together and deeply impact each other’s lives. Entire societies are strengthened when mentors and mentees come together across generational and socio-economic lines to grow together and learn from each other. Anyone interested in taking an active role in this type of social change should consider becoming a SAYes mentor.”


  • Foster your personal growth. Something we love to hear from SAYes mentors (and we hear it often), is that they grow and learn from the mentorship experience just as much, if not more, than the young person they mentor. This growth starts during our intensive training as we dive deep into topics including mentoring, communication, active listening and informed decision-making skills, what it means to become an independent adult, what constitutes well-being, and more. Then week after week, mentors meet with the young mentee they are matched with and apply the lessons from training, often having conversations and experiences that are unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. Inevitably, mentors’ preconceived notions about young people, South African society, and what it means to be a mentor are challenged, and their minds and horizons are expanded.


  • Boost your professional skillset. Beyond providing opportunities for personal growth, getting experience as a mentor can also bolster your professional life. Many of the skills and attributes that make great mentors also make great managers and organisational leaders. This includes active listening, perspective sharing, consistency, and how to effectively provide guidance, advocacy and support. Companies are increasingly recognising the importance of mentorship. A Deloitte study of the millennial workforce found that millennials “intending to stay with their organisation for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68 percent) than not (32 percent).” According to The Wall Street Journal, 70% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programmes. Investing time and energy to gain mentorship skills and experience while simultaneously giving back to your society not only enables you to strengthen your own workplace culture, it can also make you a more attractive candidate for prospective employers.


  • Have fun and connect with like-minded people. Last but certainly not least, being a SAYes mentor is fun. Each week, mentors get a break from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives to spend an hour entirely dedicated to authentic conversation and building human connections with young people. What’s more, mentors and mentees often spend time on exciting activities like cycling, hiking, trying new cuisines, going to the movies, and more. SAYes also hosts several mentor mixers throughout the year, giving mentors the opportunity to network and mingle with each other as well.


There are many great reasons to become a SAYes mentor. However, it’s also important to note that it is a serious and intense commitment. It not only requires a significant time investment (at least one hour of mentoring a week, plus attendance of trainings and programme check-in sessions), but also your mental and emotional energy.

If you are up for the challenge and eager to dive in, or if you are simply interested in learning more, please email for an application, or visit to register to join an upcoming information session.

If you’re not currently in a position to make the commitment to become a mentor but would like to support SAYes, you may also consider donating.

We hope to hear from you soon!


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