You are the lead character in your own unfolding story. The protagonist, the hero, the victim. Your life is vivid, complex, and your own. So, what do we call that moment when we realise the world is bigger than ourselves? That we have co-stars among us who play different roles in our lives and that they too are their own main characters to their unique stories.
'Sonder'. This is the word to describe the realisation that everyone has a story, as explained in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.
Fundamentally, this is why the SAB Be The Mentor initiative has succeeded during the past few years and continues to grow so enthusiastically. It's because people looked beyond their own lives and made the choice to share their personal experience and help guide a child or person in need, away from making the wrong choice.
Why We Started 'Be The Mentor'
We created our community because we realised the power of shared experiences from real people and how they can influence others.
With this power came the responsibility to pursue our vision & mission; To highlight the serious problem of underage drinking in South Africa. According to Aware.org, 50% of South African teens drink alcohol. 13% of boys will try it by the age of 13 and 8% of girls will too.
We formed a ‘starter-community' with SAB employees and stakeholders, then invited the public to join us strive and pledge to become a mentor. We continue to encourage fellow adults to take the pledge and make the right decision to help create a better future for everyone.
What Does It Take to Be A Mentor?
We're not going to sugar coat it, it takes some courage and a bit of kahunas to stand up and do the right thing.
Underage consumption and abuse of alcohol can lead to unfortunate consequences that range from addiction, poverty and theft, unplanned pregnancies, dropping out of school and losing touch with those who truly care.
These are personal and hard issues to deal with, but from experience comes knowledge and from that wisdom. With our guidance, we enable everyday heroes to rise and take control of their own experience and show the next person what to look out for and how to make better choices.
Paying it Forward
Many of our mentors grew up in difficult environments, being exposed to, not just, alcohol abuse at a young age but also having to face hard realities such as physical and mental abuse. Luckily, they had that one person who stood up for them and proved to themselves, their mentee and the community, that everyone is important and that they deserve a second chance to live a better life.
By taking the pledge and becoming a mentor, you can help rewrite someone's future.
From small actions such as removing alcohol from children's sight and not consuming in front of them, to stepping-up in public and addressing children on their actions when needed. For example, seeing a child buying alcohol at a shop or shebeen; It's the courage to report such establishments to your local authority as well as talking to the child, gaining the support from their guardians to step in and make a change. Here is a short mentor's guide to success to maybe help you get started.
Join our growing community of mentors on our Be The Mentor Facebook page, click here.
If you feel you can help change someone else's future, click here.