“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. 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 request an application (see tabs above).


No it doesn't. The SAYes Mentoring process is currently free, thanks to funding from the Greater London Authority (GLA) with the Mayor of London's New Deal for Young People programme.

Yes. We believe that if you don't have one hour a week for social change, you need two! We can help you find a mentoring programme that best fits your schedule. Whether you run your own business or are recently retired, there are simple ways to build an effective social change routine into your life. During your appointment with our transition specialists we will explore programme and social change options based on your location, weekly schedule and after-hours commitments. All our mentoring programmes are based on one hour of one-to-one mentoring per week. There are both in-person and e-mentoring (via WhatsApp video call) programme options. If together we don't think the time is a good fit for you right now, we can help you find other ways to support social change.

Yes. The SAYes approach to mentoring is called Transition Mentoring. It is simple, effective and it can be taught. We developed Transition Mentoring because we were unhappy with the limited impact of behavioural change interventions in general, and of informal mentoring in particular. Our approach is rigorously evidence-based, grounded in the latest findings from the behavioural and brain sciences as well as applied insights from social work, relationship counselling, popular psychology/self-help, parenting, coaching and management.

As a transition mentor, you are trained to manage the relationship through which programme interventions are then delivered. Great relationships, structured and supported, are simply the best way to deliver content that matters. This is as true for a young person in a care home as it is for a young professional in the workplace. Transition Mentoring finds application in education, development, health and business, which is why SAYes Transition Mentorship training is regularly requested by fellow non-profits, community groups, health care providers, private and government schools, as well as corporates interested in in-house mentoring.

Transition Mentorship training helps you develop the knowledge, skills and values useful for your own relationships and for engaging others in building meaningful connection and community, whether at home, in the workplace or in your neighbourhood. Many of our mentors also find that a specialised focus on transition combined with access to the SAYes Individual Transition Plan helps them to plan and effect meaningful and comprehensive change in their own lives.

To mentor on one of the SAYes social change programmes eighteen hours of pre-programme Transition Mentorship training is required. Training takes place via live online classes and self-paced video lectures. Training is limited to small groups to ensure personalised and professional instruction. In addition SAYes provides on-going mentorship training for mentors, including transition appointments, weekly proactive support, mentor support groups and a masterclass schedule throughout your mentorship.

We have programmes that follow the calendar year and programmes that have rolling start dates throughout the year. There are always mentees waiting to be matched with a new mentor. For our annual programmes, first quarter (Jan, Feb, March) pre-programme activities include online mentor application, in person interview, training and matching. One-to-one mentoring then takes place weekly from February/March through October/November.

For rolling programmes you may apply at any time and attend one of our mentorship training courses available monthly. Your 9-month programme then starts at your match contracting date (following mentor mentee matching).

Yes. SAYes mentors choose the programme and site (if applicable) for their mentoring. For our corporate partners we design programmes suited to their location and team schedules. Mentors are then individually matched using a facilitated matching process, led by the mentee. Matching employs psychometric tools to foreground important match characteristics ultimately helping the mentee choose their mentor. All SAYes matches are same gender.

Yes. SAYes mentors meet with their mentees for at least one hour every week in person or online (depending on the programme chosen) for nine months. There may be periods during the year when mentees are unavailable to meet (e.g., during school holidays) and likewise mentors are sometimes unavailable to meet due to work commitments, family holidays, and so on. In these cases as long as there is clear communication in advance the meeting may be cancelled. Matches are required to meet 65 - 70% of the weeks in a programme to graduate. Programmes are not extended formally beyond the closure date agreed at contracting, and returning mentors and mentees are always matched with a new person.

For In-person Programmes affiliated with a site, meetings occur at the site (e.g., children's home, school) and then off-site with the site liaison's permission. Adult mentees (over 18 years) are able to access a transport allowance to make their way to an agreed meeting place for in person meetings. For e-mentoring programmes mentees are provided with cell phones and weekly data.

Yes. Groups of SAYes mentors get together to run workgroups with their mentees during the year. Most programmes run five workgroups, each focused on specific domains related to independence and well-being. Workgroups are usually kept small with no more than seven matches in a group and a rotating chair. SAYes provides the workgroup chair with a programme schedule designed to facilitate guided learning in a group participation format. SAYes workgroups introduce evidence-based practices to improve independence and well-being.

SAYes non-profit partners also offer their own content (workshops, camps, outings) to SAYes matches throughout the year. Mentors decide with their mentees which of these activities they might like to attend together.

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.

Mentees and mentors who complete 65% -70% of their scheduled weekly meetings graduate from the programme. Mentees may re-enrol up until 26 years of age. Mentees may also join the SAYes Alumni group run by and for Alumni.

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 (for in person) 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 a weekly log, which takes around two minutes to fill in. Mentors and mentees also complete 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). Every two weeks the transition specialist assigned to your match will review progress and offer support in relation to the mentee's Individual Transition Plan (ITP). This plan provides structure to the mentorship conversations throughout the year but is not prescriptive. It helps a great deal if the ITP is regularly updated to allow your transition specialist to resources the transition projects you are undertaking with your mentee. All check-ins with SAYes staff are carried out in English. SAYes staff also regularly engage with mentors by telephone, WhatsApp and email.

No. For in-person programmes mentors use either their own or public transport to visit their mentees weekly. For e-mentoring programmes you will need a device and internet connection that can manage (Zoom and WhatsApp) video calls. Most smart phones can manage this.

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).

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, this volunteer opportunity is best for people who have developed or are looking to develop a deep growth or process focus in their own life, who deeply care about social change and about scientifically credible ways of achieving it, and who are confidently independent, knowledgeable and experienced, with good social networks and an secure/balanced relationship style.

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).