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GHS Young Leaders launch ‘Big Sister’ programme

GHS Young Leaders launch ‘Big Sister’ programme

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The Young Leaders of the Girls’ High School (GHS) have recently launched a ‘Big Sister’ programme, which will see its members mentoring 40 younger students at their school.

The programme was launched last Friday, and was described by featured speaker Carlene Marshall as “an excellent idea,” as mentorship is beneficial in helping today’s youth deal with the “ups and downs of life.”{{more}}

“Growing up is never easy,” explained Marshall. “Today’s students face many challenges – way more challenges than we faced when we were students.”

The featured speaker, who herself became a mentor in 2011 and has been managing GHS’s past student mentorship programme since 2013, added: “A programme like yours can provide positive influences for younger students who need a little extra attention, or do not have the best support system available to them. You Young Leaders are in a unique position where, because of your youth, you can easily identify with and in some instances, you have overcome the challenges faced by your younger sisters.”

Marshall did, however, caution the Young Leaders that mentoring can be like a “roller coaster”, with there being both exhilarating moments, as well as the nerve-wracking.

“You may feel like quitting, because the last thing you need is a pesky little sister, right? Well. The flip side of that is right in this room; one of these little sisters needs you… Whatever you do, do not give up…

“You never know the impact you can make on someone’s life by just an encouraging word. Be observant, seek out the girl who looks like she needs a friend; be prepared to listen to your little sisters without judging them… Take time to really listen… Do not betray her trust.”

She also urged the Young Leaders to lead by example, now that they are role models to their ‘little sisters’.

“Your little sisters are watching you, and they would see what you do; so make sure everything you do is as wholesome as possible.”

President of the GHS Young Leaders Myka Williams explained that this big sister programme is a form of youth mentoring that is designed to “improve the well-being” of the person being mentored, by providing a mentor who can support her academically, socially and personally.

Also giving remarks was Andrea Bowman, headmistress at the GHS.

Bowman lauded the Young Leaders for embarking on this programme, and encouraged both ‘big sisters’ and ‘little sisters’ to think carefully about what they do (in every aspect of their lives) before taking action.

The GHS headmistress noted that even though a student may be a high achiever academically, possess high self-esteem and be socially well-adjusted, there may still be a need for guidance and mentoring.

“A student may be achieving well in certain areas, and in other areas be wanting. So, this is why I think your programme is well conceived, well timed and totally necessary.”

Shelene McPherson, a teacher at GHS, also spoke positively about the big sister programme, and its benefits for both the ‘little sisters’ and their older mentors.

Using the acronym ‘SISTER’, McPherson listed the basic roles that the big sisters would fulfil. Namely: S – support, I – inspire, S – [keeping] secrets (maintaining confidentiality), T – teamwork, E – [setting a positive] example, and R – [building a] relationship.

In her welcoming speech, Mya John, a Young Leader, said that the big sister programme would see them “shaping and moulding” the future by being role models to their mentees.

“We are never too young to lead, thrive, and – most definitely – not too young to create a better society.”

At the launch of the big sister programme, students from Forms 1, 2 and 3 were paired with their Young Leader ‘big sisters,’ who are in Form 4. (JSV)

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