Young people often find themselves involved in crime for a range of reasons. A key reason amongst young people is the tendency for them to be easily influenced by their peers. Peer influence is a positive thing when the behaviour being emulated is of a positive nature. However, when the behaviour amongst young people is negative, this has the power to create a ripple effect of negativity.
To combat this behavioural trend amongst young people, on the VIP project, an intentional effort is made to pair young people with a positive role model from whom they can learn and receive mentorship. On this occasion, a mentorship session was arranged with Jawad of Seraphim Studioz to help inspire hope in one of the VIP participants. During the session, Jawad shared his experiences and asked reflective questions to help the young person understand the end point of a life of crime. Jawad also shared examples of people who had been involved in crime but had chosen to change their decisions and lifestyle.
If those you call your friends do not visit you at your lowest point, then they are not really your friends.Jawad Mbadinga- Seraphim Studioz
The young person in question was impacted by the session and is committed to making amendments to his choices and way of life. He has now commenced a construction course with the hope of obtaining employment in the construction industry. Jawad will also continue to provide mentorship during studio sessions to ensure that his lived experience adds value to the lives of young people.
Mentorship is a key pathway to reducing crime because it introduces someone new into the young person’s life. A mentor may be someone different from the established voices in the young person’s life. It is important to note that some young people who have been involved in crime come from respectable homes. However, because the influence of their friends was stronger than the influence of their parents, they found themselves with friends who influenced them negatively. The role of the mentor in such cases is to echo the message already delivered by parents in a fresh way, and to provide young people with insight on how they can improve their outcomes by improving their decisions.
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I learnt to be careful about the friends I keepVIP Participant