Alliance set up to boost mentoring programme for youths

Ms Low Yi Juan, programme manager at Architects of Life, signing the memorandum of understanding, with guest-of-honour Ms Sim Ann (in red), Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and of Communications and Information, looking on.
Ms Low Yi Juan, programme manager at Architects of Life, signing the memorandum of understanding, with guest-of-honour Ms Sim Ann (in red), Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and of Communications and Information, looking on.PHOTO: MCCY

Finding a good confidante led to "the opportunity of a lifetime" for 18-year-old Nur Jannah.

A former wild child who was involved with drugs, she credits her mentor from the social enterprise, Architects Of Life (AOL), for helping her turn her life around.

"She gave me life advice, brought us out for outings, and basically just showed me a better way of life," said Jannah, who has been attending AOL's mentoring programme since March this year.

It is positive stories like Jannah's that has encouraged youth organisations to work on growing mentorship programmes for youths, and 11 agencies have banded together to serve as a Mentoring Alliance.

Apart from sharing resources, the Alliance aims to create a new mentoring programme framework which would establish some minimum standards for the various youth agencies.

It will also organise annual summits for partners and other involved parties to share and learn more about mentoring practices.

The group formalised their partnership with a memorandum of understanding which was signed on Wednesday (July 11). Members include AOL, Reach Community Services, Care Singapore and Metropolitan YMCA Singapore.

"It's really borrowing from the principle of taking a whole village to raise a child; it takes many agencies to come together to show solidarity and say we believe in this and we want to see a movement started and sustained," said Mr Glenn Lim, founder of AOL, and a leader of the initiative.

He added that unlike many other programmes to help youths, mentoring offers a more personal and human touch as the mentor often accompanies the mentees through their journey.

The signing was witnessed by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and for Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann.

Ms Sim noted that the Alliance could help open up opportunities for organisations to reach out to more potential mentors.

Jannah has expressed a desire to help other at-risk youths one day. She plans to take up an apprenticeship at AOL soon.

She said : "A lot of my friends just need someone to help them. Some have the capacity to help themselves, but others just need someone else to talk to."