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From UNICEF to becoming a youth mentor

by Aruna Pant, Kathmandu 
The Regional Project I had been managing since 2015 in South Asia with UNICEF was coming to an end. Wrapping up the programme, completing the financial aspect, compiling the lessons learnt and good practices gained over the past 5 years and applying for future opportunity had become my daily routine. I had been notified that there were no funds to keep up my position from 2021 onwards. I was trying my best, I did have an offer, but the circumstances were not just right. Once I had declined the offer, I
stopped receiving any positive note.

That was when I saw a post on FB, a short quiz on ‘HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A YOUTH MENTOR?’ (you can get our quiz here if you’re interested!).

Being passionate about working for youth, I took the quiz right away. I have been dreaming of doing something that will help young girls with less resources and support to have dreams and aspiration. I had been thinking of helping girls in the community schools be confident about themselves. But I had no idea of ‘how’. I don’t exactly remember how I did with the quiz, but I recall reading a call for enrolment into the forth coming training for Youth Mentors. I wanted to take the training so that I could add skills and advance my career in this sector. I quickly dropped a line stating my interest to enroll in the training and also explained my limitation of making the payment due to strict government financial policy. I still remember, it was 04 th Nov 2020. As my days with UNICEF was coming to an end, I was devastated. I was unsure of what was waiting for me once my job was over. While I was counting my days down with UNICEF, amidst the pandemic and online work, I heard back from Amanda on the provision for scholarship, which gave me a light of hope. A feeling / assurance of everything was going to be alright. A positive vibe from dashed through the words making me feel comfortable and hopeful.

While I kept on applying for further opportunities within the organization, I was slightly drifting away and wanted to start something of my own so that I could personally be a part of the change I wanted to see. I took a moment to think about the young boys and girls living in the city in many of the South Asian cities, far away from being guided by someone who understood them, a mentor who could help them see their potentiality. I thought about the young people I had worked with in the different countries in South Asia and the Middle East. I remembered about the several young people I had supported over the past decade. I wanted to expand my horizon and reach young people whom I believed were being missed by the others. I wanted to extend my support to the young people who wanted to be guided and mentored so that they could believe in themselves.

For me, it is important to be able to give back to the society once you know you have done much and this was the time. I wanted to grasp it. If we cannot use the skills and knowledge we have gained over our life, then we have not learnt anything. I wanted to be useful. That is when I was asked if I would want to be a part of the Online Academy. A dream was coming true…. A dream of being a part of a big team spreading out in different parts of the world. A team that is dedicated to bringing changes in the lives of young people.

Ever since being engaged with Shine From Within, there has never been a morning when I am not excited of the work I am starting. There is no moment I am not thinking of what am I going to include in my sessions. I feel I am cared for and valued for the skills and knowledge I have. I feel confident that I will reach more people through this than through the work I have been doing in the past. I feel I will be acknowledged and appreciated more from being a member of this great team rather than being just a staff of a larger organization where my contribution is a drop in the ocean which could be engulfed by larger waves.

So yes, I am happy each day for being a Certified Youth Mentor and being a member of a group which is working for a cause. I am proud to be a member of the Shine From Within team.

If you’d also like to become a youth mentor and be part of our Shine From Within community, as well as start your own youth mentor business like Aruna in your part of the world, here are a few free things to get you started! 

  • You can take the free quiz, ‘Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Youth Mentor?’ and discover your youth mentor archetype here
  • You can listen to our podcast, The Youth Mentor Podcast here.
  • You can download the free eBook, ‘How Working with Teens Changed Their Life and Business’ here.
  • You can take the free masterclass, ‘Take Your Teen Programs Online’ here.
  • You can watch the free masterclass, ‘How to support teens in 2021’ here.
  • And you can register for the free mini training series here. 

And when you’re ready to go further and get the support you need to build or grow your youth-related business, come and join us in the Youth Mentor Training!

We also offer limited business coaching and consulting for more established businesses or folks who need a more personalised approach. Get in touch to enquire or request to book in a complimentary 15min call at youthmentors@shinefromwithin.com.au

Connect with Aruna: 

Aruna is now one of our support coaches and mentors for our Youth Mentor Training so if you join our training, you’ll get to meet her! She’s so infectious and passionate – you’ll absolutely love her perspective. Aruna has also started Golden Heart Mentors in Nepal. You can follow her instagram page here. 

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