Inspired by her own struggles growing up, Carolyn has been a Youth Mentor with Uniting for over 6 years.
“When I decided to start volunteering, I knew I wanted to help children and youth in some way,” says Carolyn.
“From my own experience as a teenager, not having the best relationships with my parents, I know how useful it can be to have someone outside of the family unit to talk to.”
Carolyn has mentored 3 local youth over her volunteering journey.
Working in a bank full time, she says she enjoys spending her down-time with the young mentees.
“I don’t have children myself, so it’s a nice way for me to connect with young people,” she says.
“I want to make a positive impact on their lives and give them opportunities they might not have.”
From going to a dog show to going to the library to read – Carolyn and her young mentees have taken part in a variety of activities.
“It’s nice because we bond over shared interests,” she says.
“Sometimes they want to go out and have some fun, and other times they just want to sit and talk.”
Carolyn admits she has dealt with some “testing” behaviour over the years.
“But once they start to open up and trust me, I’ve been able to understand where that behaviour is coming from.
“Overall, it’s been a wonderful experience.
“I’ve been able to see them grow as people and become more confident in themselves.
“It has certainly opened my eyes as to the challenges young people face today, including social media and bullying.”
Carolyn is still in touch with her former mentees.
She says she has gained more than she has given.
“If you’re thinking about it, give it a go,” she says.
“There is as much reward in it for the adult as there is for the young person.”