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

Michelle Potter



At SAYes we train and support mentors for young people, turning your life experience and perspective into a powerfully supportive relationship. Mentors are individually matched with a young person living in or recently exited from a children's home. Matches meet for one hour a week for nine-months, in a structured and supported programme, focused on improving independence and well-being. We provide you with the tools, tactics and strategies known to powerfully effect change, while also linking you to business and non-profit partners who are keen to support the young people you are inspiring. Mentors and mentees receive transition support from SAYes throughout the year. Our programme specialists ensure you do good better. To learn more please book a place at one of our remaining Tuesday evening information sessions or request an application directly (see booking/application tabs above)

*There are no more INFORMATION SESSIONS for our 2018 programmes. If you would like to mentor in 2018 please request an application directly (see above tab). The deadline for applications is the 15th February.


The SAYes programme runs annually, beginning with mentor applications, interviews and training from April to January, followed by mentor and mentee matching and home orientations in February. Matches meet from February/March to October/November. 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 January 28th.

The online application takes around an hour, as does the mentor interview. Mentorship training occurs in two evening classes (3 hours each). Matching at the homes takes two hours as does an orientation to the children's home. Mentoring then involves a minimum time commitment of one hour a week (face-to-face meetings) for nine-months. Mentors and mentees also attend three transition meetings with SAYes during the year (1 hour each). Finally, on the first Monday of each month (March, May, June, August, September), groups of matches at each home meet to lead work groups focused on transitions (2 hours each).
Mentorship training occurs in two evening classes during the week (3 hours each). Training is limited to 20 people per group, and occurs on consecutive evenings.
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 matching at their selected children's home.
SAYes mentors meet with their mentees for at least one hour every week in person (between February/March and October/November). 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 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), and those living outside the homes are given a transport allowance to make their way to an agreed meeting place.
SAYes programmes are delivered in five two-hour workshops run at the homes by mentor workgroups. 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.

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, options, goals, revised) 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, educated, accomplished/established in their career/role, with rich life experience and perspective), with great networks in both their career and social life, and a great relationship style (e.g., open-minded, secure, enthusiastic, approachable, caring, self-aware). Mentors prepare young people for independence/autonomy by providing guidance (knowledge and insight), advocacy (networks of introduction and opportunity) and support (care and encouragement).