Mentoring works!

by Jeni Lobel

In October last year, I was asked to become a mentor. WHY ME? I said, what on earth could an almost 70 year old do? Coming from a privileged background, what do I have in common with someone almost 45 years younger from, what feels like, a different part of the world? I had mixed feelings, of really wanting to participate but doubting whether it would work or last. But I decided to give it a go! Slowly we got to know each other by email, whatsapp and the occasional phone call. It was like having an old fashioned pen pal!

Just before Christmas, I had the opportunity to meet my mentee and what a joy it was to greet her and meet her family. We reached out to each other and I can't tell how rewarding that was, how enriching the experience and the wonderful feeling of knowing that I had contributed, in a way, to her life.

I encouraged her to go to look for work and support her two small children. One day she called me asking if I could help her with transport money for an interview. She never told me the interview was 75 km away but we made a plan… and she got the job! What a feeling, it made my day and my year.

I highly recommend mentoring as it has taught me so much: how to communicate, how to put yourself in someone else's shoes, how to broaden my horizons knowing that I have been fortunate enough to make a difference in someone's life!

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