“Witnessing the positive change in my mentees has been such a meaningful and rewarding experience for me.”

– Ratna Nair, Lecturer at James Cook University

“Intriguing” is a word that comes to mind whenever I am in the presence of our younger generation. I realised that they tend to live with a great deal of insecurities hence, this is why I decided to be a mentor to guide and nurture them as I believe that they have so much potential waiting to be discovered.

During my early years as a volunteer, I met a student that was having difficulties coping with her emotional and mental state of mind, which negatively impacted her academic performance. I would sit with her and have random conversations, and in between these conversations, I would offer her advice on how to handle the issues she faced. Watching her gain confidence and become a self-sufficient individual was very rewarding for me. These experiences played a pivotal role in my decision to continue mentoring students to prepare them for the next phase of their lives. 

Upon learning about Halogen Foundation, their Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme stood out as an excellent fit with my professional experience as a lecturer of accounting and finance at James Cook University Singapore. The team at Halogen matched me with students who had a variety of business ideas that my skills, knowledge, and expertise helped develop into action plans. Throughout the whole process, there were a few moments that ignited sparks in students, which I found very fulfilling and memorable.

Apart from the NFTE programme, I also had the opportunity to mentor a final year university student through the six-month ELEMENTS Mentoring programme. When we met for the first few sessions, I noted that she lacked confidence and self-esteem. However, as I got to know her more, I realised that she was quite different from the other youths her age, in a positive way. She regularly volunteers in the community by tutoring underprivileged students, which was truly admirable. Over the course of a few months, I did my best to provide her with relevant tips and knowledge to help her develop her own strengths. I also left her with this principle that I value deeply, “We should never make judgments of others because we do not know what they have gone through in their lives”. Not only did my mentee benefit emotionally and cognitively from this experience, but I too, as a mentor managed to strengthen my professional and soft skills, and see things from a different perspective.

Therefore, I strongly believe any volunteer can play a crucial role in guiding today’s youth to best prepare themselves for the future. I would highly recommend Halogen to those who want to make a positive impact in the lives of our youths. Halogen also provides you with tools, resources, and programmes that meet your needs when it comes to volunteering. Do check out their volunteering opportunities here!