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Voices from the Streets Part 12- Mentorship Works!

Nixon Dickenson (right) shares a photo moment with Nikimo Williams

By Nixon Dickenson

In this week’s article in the series Voices from the Streets, I would like to highlight the importance of mentorship and its positive impact on young people when it is done with intention and consistency.

I would like to share the views of Nikimo Williams who is a mentor with the Boys 2 Men mentorship program in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  He believes that mentoring at its core is supposed to assure the mentee that there is someone who cares about them, who will provide guidance, work with them through challenging situations, help them define their goals and aspirations, identify their skills and talents and most importantly remain a constant positive influence in their lives.

You are probably saying wow mentoring is an awesome responsibility, if you are reading this and thinking about becoming a mentor.  For Nikimo, myself and many others, mentoring is a way of life.

 It requires time and sacrifice, it is about commitment to seeing the growth of the individual transition from youth into the young adult.  Nikimo stressed the positive influence of mentoring relationships as consistent mentoring can positively impact young people in their personal, academic and professional lives. Mentorship is not a response to crisis it is a preventative process.

Using mentorship as a response to help a young person who has experienced years of traumatic experiences may not be as effective as mentoring a young person from their primary school years. This is one of the ways Nikimo believes mentorship can be a more effective tool in our communities. From as early as primary school, all children should be assigned a mentor that will serve as a support for their overall psychosocial well-being. 

The role of the mentor is not to replace the parents but to work in collaboration with parents, especially those who struggle with children who are at risk.

According to Nikimo many boys enjoy playing basketball and gather in various communities to enjoy this pastime.  However, in the absence of positive supervision, negative behaviours are also learned and poor habits are formed. 

If the mentor is present at the practice session or the game, in the absence of their parents who may be otherwise engaged at work, they can be the support that is needed to prevent negative behaviours from taking place. This is just one example of how mentorship can be used to actively curb negative influences rather than being a passive response. 

Mentorship works and can serve as a powerful tool to deter crime and other ills in our society.  If you are a mentor thank you for what you are doing, to leave a positive imprint on the life of a young person.

 If you are considering becoming a mentor, ensure that you are willing to be a consistent presence in the young person’s life, as your continuous involvement can make a positive difference.


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