Mentor's Goal to Assist Others Achieve Theirs



After setting a goal to find a way to give back to the community, Wendy Youens (pictured right with mentee, Tali Lumanuvae) discovered First Foundation. Becoming a Mentor for the organisation immediately felt like a natural fit.

Wendy, who grew up on a farm in Feilding and went on to study English Literature at the University of Otago, says her university years were very formative for her. “They opened my mind to a new way of thinking and forming my own opinions,” Wendy says. “When I heard of First Foundation's amazing work, it seemed like a great fit for me, as I think tertiary study is really important, but I also remember what a challenging time it was.”

The most critical aspect of a First Foundation Mentor’s role is assisting their Mentee with managing the major transitions they will face during their time in either the Foundation Steps or Scholarship programmes. This includes the transition from high school to university, and university to the workplace.

A Mentor becomes a guide, a friend, an advisor, a positive role model, and, most importantly, a listener and sounding board for their Mentee.

Wendy initially joined First Foundation in early 2017 and says she was really excited to meet her Mentee, Talioaiga ‘Tali’ Lumanuvae. Tali is a Class of 2016 Scholarship recipient and has been matched with Scholarship Partner Dick and Diana Hubbard.

“Tali has been a fantastic Mentee. I think I have learned as much from her as she has from me,” Wendy says. “I think it's really important to engage with your Mentee's family and it was great to meet Tali's super supportive parents on the first night we met.”

Wendy says she looks at being a Mentor as an opportunity to support a bright young person through a time of change. “The key ingredients in a successful Mentor/Mentee relationship are mutual respect, trust, and having a bit of fun.”

In the short time that Wendy has been mentoring Tali, she says Tali has grown as a person since leaving the safety net of school and stepping into her first year of university. “It's really rewarding to be part of her journey.”

Wendy added that if you have the time and desire to help a young person achieve their goals, then she absolutely recommends mentoring with First Foundation. “The amazing team at First Foundation are really supportive and provide a great framework for building a successful mentoring relationship.”

First Foundation is currently recruiting 150 Mentors across the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regions, to help achieve its mission “to assist academically talented New Zealand students worthy of support to achieve their potential through tertiary education, and to prepare them to positively influence and benefit their communities".

Visit for more information on how to become a First Foundation mentor.

“It's really rewarding to be part of her journey.”