5 Years of SA-YES

Five years ago this week SA-YES was registered in the UK and subsequently in South Africa. Happy birthday SA-YES!

It has been an incredible five years. All we knew when we started was that we wanted to provide support for young people who have to make the difficult transition from a children’s home to living independently at the age of 18. We have tried and tested different approaches and we now have a successful, effective programme that is led by the youth and the mentors. SA-YES simply provides the platform, the structure and the resources.

In addition to the programme we have established an incredible network of support globally. It’s so heartwarming for us when we read stories and see photographs of people walking, running and networking on behalf of SA-YES. Thank you all for your incredible support and for contributing your time and energy, allowing us to continue with our work here in South Africa.

We have added some testimonials from a few of our mentors, which we hope you will enjoy reading. Thank you for your continued support!

Warmest regards,

Gillian Anderson and Michelle Potter
SA-YES Co-founders

P.S. – If you are in the Cape Town area, we still have spots left for the 2014 Cape Argus Cycle Tour and tickets for our 5 year anniversary party. Help us spread the word!

A Note From Our Mentors

Ross Metcalfe, Mentor, 2013
Spending time with *Dylan has been a learning experience. I have had no previous experience of mentoring young men of Dylan’s background. But I felt at home. I do not know if I improved Dylan’s ability to cope with the world- that is for Dylan and those close to him to judge. The facts are simple: Dylan and his peers are at risk of achieving far less than children in “normal” homes. But the young men I met at the children’s home have a potential to make a massively positive impact on the world. If I have increased  the chance of this happening I am happy.*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.

Kase, Mentor, 2013
From the beginning, being a mentor for one of the young men at Beth Uriel has been rewarding and tough at the same time. There have been a lot of ups and downs stemming from the need to build a solid, reliable and workable relationship so that the mentee can use it as a springboard to excel in life. When I first started mentoring for SA-YES, I had no idea what to expect as I had never mentored in South Africa before. However, I have now come to understand that mentorship is universal regardless of the persons being mentored, or the place of mentorship. The only barriers to good mentorship are impatience and lack of empathy. If young people are afforded time and a degree of empathy, then it becomes easier to relate to them and to engage effectively, so that we as mentors can add value to their lives, by sharing our life experiences, and showing how to use them in a positive light. I believe I have shown my mentee some useful life lessons, but I have also been taught a lot by him along the way, which shows that mentee and mentor relationships have to be reciprocal to function efficiently.It has been a challenge gaining my mentee’s trust due to his past experiences with people. We have had misunderstandings and differing points of view but ultimately, we have grown to respect each other as he allows me to guide him in a more suitable direction. We have discussed issues that affect young people daily, from drugs, teenage pregnancy, HIV, to crime.

These conversations have been a revelation because they have helped my mentee face issues which he thought were solely for older people. I have also encouraged light-hearted conversations to help maintain good comfort levels. Over the course of the last few months I have seen a great improvement in his attitude towards serious talks. When I first started working with him, he enjoyed being rebellious and unconcerned, about anything. However, he has shifted his thinking positively and understands the importance of being a helpful and responsible human being.

All in all, the SA- YES mentorship program has been an educational and life changing experience which I have thoroughly appreciated. I would definitely recommend it to any potential mentor. Regardless of how rough the journey might be, it is worth it.

Leanne Coole, Mentor, 2013
The mentor / mentee relationship between myself and Nikita has grown from strength to strength. Nikita started an internship with me from Monday 2 September where she will be receiving a start up salary for the internship which will become a permanent position in my company.Nikita has been assisting me on a part time basis as a personal assistant within my business and an au pair to my daughter Skye. She has proved to be extremely dedicated and proactive in both areas and I am delighted with her progress. We have had very few challenges and have overcome them through honest, open communication. There are clear boundaries in place and our work relationship is separate from the mentor / mentee relationship.

My company is called Living By Design and Nikita will be getting experience as a personal assistant as well as learning about the exciting world of Graphic Design, Promotional Gifts and Clothing and the various forms of Advertising. In essence she will be my right hand person and will be exposed to the Corporate world. She will also attend meetings with me and be exposed to my Clients. In terms of the au pair work, she will be assisting Skye with homework, extra murals and fun filled activities.

We are all very excited about this new adventure we are about to embark on. Nikita is a wonderful young lady and both myself and Skye see her as being part of our family. I think SA-YES is the most incredible program which enriches both the mentor and mentee’s lives in a variety of different ways. Congratulations to Michelle and the team for making it such a huge success.

I look forward to the future of the program and I am confident it will continue to empower these wonderful young people who need a positive support structure in their lives.

Posted in The Youth
3 comments on “5 Years of SA-YES
  1. Friends of SA-YES, Germany says:

    Happy Birthday and congratulations on your five years of amazing work you’re doing in South Africa. I have read the mentor’s testimonials with great interest. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We will continue to support you from afar. We have just begun our work and hope for a successful partnership. With warm regards from Germany.

    Friends of SA-YES, Germany

  2. Sue Haglund says:

    Happy 5th birthday SA-YES! Thank for sharing with us the life-changing experiences through the TIL programme! Wonderful, brilliant work and partnership. in solidarity and in continue support, Sue

  3. yoliswa makoba says:

    I want to say thanks to SA YES. To all things u do for our youth

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About SAYes

SAYes was founded in 2008 to offer much-needed support and guidance for children and young people in South Africa.

We provide youth leaving children's homes with guidance that will enable them to develop their skills, further their education and source suitable housing, in order for them to participate in society as independent, mature, responsible adults.

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"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” -Carl Jung