1 May 2017

Help a young bloke become a better man

| Rachel Ziv
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If you’re a man who has survived adolescence, chances are you have lessons learnt and stories to tell.

But what’s that knowledge worth?

Well, to Menslink and the young men they help, it’s worth everything.

The non-profit organisation, which turns 15 today, pairs young guys in need of guidance with men who can donate their wisdom, experience and life lessons.

Since 2002, families of all kinds in Canberra and surrounding regions have relied on Menslink’s free counselling, volunteering, and mentoring services. Menslink also run the Silence is Deadly campaign in partnership with the Canberra Raiders, which works through local high schools and colleges to raise awareness about depression and anxiety in teenage boys.

Martin Fisk, CEO of Menslink, is incredibly proud of what has been achieved and asks stand up Canberra men of all ages to share their time and insights.

“In 15 years we have helped over 2,500 young men,” says Martin. “Our current mentors come from all walks of life, including professionals, academics, business people, public servants, tradespeople, military, unemployed, pensioners, retirees, students, and more!

It’s not about being the smartest or the best. What our mentors have in common is that they have survived their own adolescence, learned a couple of life lessons and sincerely want to help the next generation of men.”

Todd Wright became a mentor in 2015 and talks fondly about what the experience has done for him personally, as well as his mentee.

“I started mentoring over 3 years ago because I wanted to do something to give back to our community.

Being 34 I felt reasonably qualified as a bloke who could share some valuable experience with a younger guy. I know I would’ve loved that in my younger years.

I was paired with a young boy whose Mum had terminal cancer and died not long after we were introduced. Naturally, it was a tough time, and I thought the mentoring would be really difficult. But it wasn’t.

Mentoring is just about turning up and listening. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and has been very personally rewarding. I went in thinking I’d help save lives, but I think I saved myself just as much.

My mentee and I are still very close; it’s like he’s part of the family. Every experience is different, and not all matches work out due to different personalities. But when it does (work), it’s extraordinary. The goal is simple: to help young guys become better men.”

If you can donate your wisdom, experience and life lessons to a young man in Canberra, please visit Menslink or call 6287 2226. Financial donations are also welcome.

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Mentoring of younger blokes by older men works. In the early 1990s I was supervisor of a shopping trolley collection team of kids and one of them – a 15 year old – was withdrawn and coming into contact with the wrong crowd. I mentored him and saw the improvement in his attitude and confidence. Today he is married with two children and has his own small business. I’m glad I helped contribute to that success story.

Rebecca Vassarotti5:48 pm 04 May 17

Volunteering is aways an experience where you get more than you give and never more when you can make a positive difference in a young person’s life. Thanks Rachel for highlighting Menslink and the great work they have been doing in the ACT community for the last 15 years

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