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The transformational power of mentoring.

The formation of real relationships between volunteers and young people is a simple idea, but one that Brothers in Arms is using to transform young people's lives.

Formed in East Auckland in 2006, Brothers in Arms has since grown to more than 80 volunteers, mentoring young people aged 9 to 15 years right across Auckland.

Finding demand for their programme increasing, Brothers in Arms successfully applied for Grassroots Giving funding in 2017 to assist with the training and support of 40 new volunteer mentors, each to be matched with an at-risk young person.

General Manager Dave Robertson says it's been an inspiring year for the team.

"The grant has helped us to support the amazing mentors that give their time to our young people all across Auckland. In 2017 we trained and supported 90 mentors, who then supported over 130 kids that were referred to Brothers in Arms. This was three times as many young people and mentors than 2016, so thank you for helping us get there!"

"The feedback from the young people and whānau that mentors are supporting is blowing us away. One of the 8-year old boys we are working with at the moment has connected with his mentor in such a powerful way that his lead social worker at Oranga Tamariki sent us this feedback: "Look, we’ve tried family therapy, counselling, psychologists, therapists, and behavioural management courses, but he just doesn't engage and nothing has worked...the only thing he is really responding to is his mentor. This is the best thing he’s got going for him at the moment." "

"Brothers in Arms was created for connection, to respond to unconditional love, and it’s incredibly humbling to see ordinary Kiwis shifting the course of young people’s lives for the better."

One such young person who's life has been transformed had this to say of being part of the Brothers in Arms mentoring programme:

"Before I was matched up with my mentor, I felt frustrated and angry about dealing with the people around me. I would express that anger and frustration by speaking abusively, hitting walls and trying to avoid  everybody. Now that I get to hang out with my mentor every week, I enjoy having a father type figure to relate to. I don’t feel as wound up and frustrated anymore… It is helping me make changes that will make my future a better place."

Photo supplied by Brothers in Arms.