Linku2 Hibiscus Coast appreciate the contributions given by many by giving their time and/or expertise in helping shape our community into the great place it is.
Our feature this quarter is Caitlin Watson. Below we hear, in Caitlin's words, who she is, what drives her and what she does here on the Coast which helps shape our community.
"My name is Caitlin Watson and I am the Project Manager of Coast Mentoring.
I am a proud born and breed Coastie and passionate about our community on the Coast. My previous role was as a Local Board member on the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board, my main advocacy focus was on supporting services and improving facilities for youth.
Other community projects I have been involved with, is setting up The Hope Shop - a recycled clothing store that supports Youth in Transition. Alongside managing Coast Mentoring, I get to wear another community hat as the community worker for Coast Community Trust.
Coast Mentoring is a youth mentoring programme for young people between the ages of 10-24 years.
Our young people are referred from counsellors, social workers, police, youth workers, psychologists and schools. Many of these young people may be struggling with mental health issues, life skills, education or lack positive role models. The goal is for the young person to have a positive role model and big buddy to support the young person on their journey. Our team of volunteer mentors are matched with a young person, who they journey alongside for the period of 12 months. Over this time the mentor meets with their young person for 1-2 hours every week, the focus of this time is on building a caring and trusting relationship.
Coast Mentoring is a collaborative project between local youth organisations based in Whangaparaoa. CYC Trust + Youth in Transition recognised the need for a mentoring service in our community. Mentoring has been identified by MSD and extensive mental health studies, to be an effective tool in building resilience and self-esteem in young people. We are also a part of the Upside Youth Mentoring family and excited to be delivering their programme on the Coast. By working together with the community, the Coast Mentoring team believes that we can support, encourage and equip our young people to step into a brighter future!
In my role it is rewarding to hear the stories our mentors share about the fun and wins they are having along the mentoring journey. For example, a young person’s growth in self-confidence, increase in school attendance, stepping outside the comfort zone, learning life lessons, and even the simple act of getting out of the house having fun and trying new activities is a big win for a number of our young people.
For us, the biggest challenge can be engaging certain young people. For some, having a mentor would be a game changer but unfortunately they aren’t in the right mind-set to be willing to engage with a mentor.
Another challenge is finding male mentors; we have a big demand for young males needing a mentors but not enough males to match them with!
Coast Mentoring started planning for our programme in May 2020 so we are still a newer project. Since our first mentor recruitment round in July 2020, it has been inspiring to see the support and enthusiasm from many in our community who have put up their hand to journey alongside a young person. In the future we would like to see a strong mentoring culture established on the Coast. Our vision is to see the programme continue to grow so that we can meet the demand for mentors and help our young people feel well supported, loved and cared for.
In order to help more young people, we need to grow our team of volunteer mentors. We would love to hear from anyone who has the heart to support a young person on their journey.
In order to sustain and grow our programme, we also require funding support. If anyone would like to consider partnering with us financially then we would love to hear from you."
Linku2 Hibiscus Coast thanks Caitlin for being part of our series and would like to thank her for her contributions to the Coast as a person helping to shape our community.