Updated: Mar 23, 2022
For the whole year, Hilary* had been failing all her subjects. The fearful possibility of retaining in the same grade loomed ahead. Hilary just wanted to give up — she hated school anyway, often skipping classes by calling in sick.
One night, Hilary tearfully confided in her mentor, Deborah, who was also a Counselor at Youth Guidance Outreach Services (YGOS). She shared that all year she had been failing at her subjects in school, and was fearful of retaining. It also turned out that she had not submitted her social study assignment which was due the next morning! Sensing the desperation in Hilary ’s voice, Deborah decided to stay up during the night to help Hilary understand the assignment better.
And thus, a sleepless Hilary worked overnight on her assignment, with Deborah’s constant encouragement and support through WhatsApp. By the next morning, although Hilary managed to submit her assignment just on time, she still worried if she could even pass the subject.
Knowing that her mentee was anxious, an exhausted Deborah decided to send Hilary a text message to encourage her. As Deborah was a Christian herself, her text message contained a prayer for Hilary to pass that particular assignment and to be motivated to keep working hard for her studies. Simple as it was, they could only wait till Hilary’s teacher had finished assessing her work to know the results from burning the midnight oil.
“Deborah! Deborah! Look what my teacher sent!”
30 minutes later, Hilary texted Deborah excitedly, saying that she had great news to share.
For the first time, Hilary had received a distinction for her assignment! Who would have thought that someone who had always failed her studies could get a distinction?
“From failing (and never passing), to a distinction! I was elated to be able to witness such a phenomenal transition in my mentee! What’s more, Hilary now intends to keep working hard for her studies!”, shared Deborah, who counted herself blessed for being able to see Hilary make such a great leap in her studies and attitude towards her schooling.
By: Hilary (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the youth)
17 years old, current youth mentee
Staff featured: Deborah Tao, Counselor, YGOS (top picture, right)
Guest Editor: Cassandra Teo (Volunteer)
Deborah (bottom, right) and Hilary (bottom, left) enjoying a handmade jewellery session.
We hope that Deborah and Hilary’s story encouraged you in your own journey, whether as a mentor yourself, or even as a youth. The mentor-mentee journey may not always be a linear one; in life, we all go through ups and downs. For Hilary, her studies were a source of distress, but with constant motivation and willpower, she pulled through. As for Deborah, moments like these naturally bring joy to one’s heart, especially when it is someone whom you’ve been constantly rooting for. Thankfully, Deborah also had the support of her colleagues who often rallied together in their outreach to Hilary, who’s also familiar with the other staff at YGOS’ Woodlands Centre.
Consider this definition of a “Mentor”:
Mentors provide guidance, advice, feedback, and support to the mentee, serving variously as role model, teacher, counselor, advisor, sponsor, advocate, and ally, depending on the specific goals and objectives negotiated with the mentee.
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