The LifeXchange Ocean View Mentoring Project is where it all began eight years ago. Cobus Oosthuizen wanted to try out this mentoring thing and asked the local Police Community Forum for the names of three youths who should have been in jail but were out in the community at active risk of missing out on life – gangsters, drug dealers and school dropouts. Then he began the long mentoring journey with them – Ricardo, Keanan and Lucien. Eight years later, LifeXchange is amazed to see the difference in these guys lives, from finishing school to becoming the head instructor at a commercial diving school, to learning to read! Massive change, and clear evidence of them all living with strength and integrity in the midst of a troubled community.
The Ocean View project has always been LifeXchange’s testing ground, putting research into practice and using feedback and evaluation to continually improve and redesign our Holistic Life Mentoring Process.
Who are the mentees?
Having worked in the community for a number of years, most of the mentees in this project are now young adults in their early twenties, and often find themselves stuck due to having dropped out of school early, having a criminal record or even becoming a parent. Most of them have given up hope of any purpose in life.
Who are the mentors?
Mentorship in this project is on a voluntary basis. LifeXchange has matched committed adults to walk alongside these youths for a minimum of 18-24 months in a caring and supportive role, providing the benefits and wisdom of their own experience in navigating the ups and downs of life. Many of these mentoring relationships have already been completed, and only a few matches remain in the project. But our alumni mentors are the original crew to come on board and see this mentoring thing really work, and all of them are still in touch with their mentees
What is the nature of the mentoring sessions?
The project is a community-based mentorship project, where mentors and mentees will meet face-to-face for 80 sessions under their own direction. Each contact session is at least one hour and occurs at least once a week. The duration of the mentoring relationships should last between 18-24 months. In addition, LifeXchange provides extreme activities to encourage relationship building at the beginning 20 contact sessions of each mentoring relationship.
Benefits for Mentees
The project will build resilience in the youth, in many areas of their lives, including educational competence, social skills, life skills and general support.
Benefits for Mentors
The project will provide volunteers with the satisfaction of making a significant impact and leaving a legacy, as well as a better understanding of the community and individuals in Ocean View. Mentors may also experience personal growth in their own lives through becoming a role model to their mentee and reflecting and building on their own resilience.