11 youths of Palau were given the opportunity to spend a few hours with professionals from the community in the Mentorship Program of WestCare, on Saturday, July 25.
The Westcare 1-to-3 Mentorship is an annual program bringing youths and adults in the community together.
Each mentor met with three youths at a time. Participants engaged in interactive games, in which they shared experiences and perceptions on social issues affecting them, such as bullying, alcohol, and drug use. Games and activities were tailored to promote team work, facilitate a safe place for open communication, build self-confidence, and teach young people that they are not alone.
Although not told specifically to turn off their phones, an attendee said that they were willing to “unplug” from technology to communicate face-to-face with the other participants.
“It was so much fun,” said Gaize, one of the young attendees, with a smile. “I’m glad I came.”
The five adult members came from various professional backgrounds.
One of the mentors was a doctor who led a discussion on alcohol and other drug use. He answered youths’ questions about the effects of these drugs on the body and on mental health.
Another mentor was an artist who dreams of opening a gallery to display artwork by Palauans. She encouraged the youths to be creative and self-accepting.
The mentor with extensive experience in sports shard insight in training to become an athlete. He also encouraged the youths to stay informed. “When you hear about ideas, take time to do your research before you make your decision,” he stressed. “It is important to be informed, especially on topic of our interests.”
The fourth mentor shared her expertise in business, which she uses to help locals succeed in their business ventures. She also shared her pride as a mother, and encouraged participants to work hard and stay out of activities that may divert them from achieving their dreams.
The fifth mentor was a high school graduate who decided to take some time before college to discover more about her interests in Palauan culture and anthropology. She started a business to help financially while she interns at Heirs to Our Ocean.
Many of the mentors and mentees agreed that it was enjoyable to learn from each other.
“I enjoyed making a personal vision board,” said one of the mentors. “It helped me to assess my goals and see where I am at.”