My Journey as a Mentor and Mentee
Nina is an extraordinary lady who has journeyed with Beautiful People first as a mentee, and now as a mentor. Just as Beautiful People celebrates its 15th Anniversary, Nina has spent 15 years growing together with us. She has been with Beautiful People since its very beginning!
Nina was first introduced to Beautiful People when she was at Beyond Social Services. The Big Sisters she met through the course of Beautiful People’s programmes made such an impact on her that she has stepped up to lead as a Mentor last year. Nina has consistently taken initiative to lead or help out in tasks, contributing to the effectiveness of the team. She has also initiated several projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing her sense of social justice. For these, she received the Ace of Initiative Award during the Flying Start Awards last year.
Once a mentee, Nina went through life’s up and downs as she struggled to understand her family and faced relationship issues. Nina recalls her Big Sister Irene sitting her down to write a vision board so that she could get a clearer picture on what career she wanted to pursue. It was Irene who gave her the strength and advice to overcome these challenges and to grow stronger.
When she was frustrated and upset, Nina had mentors to hear her out, to guide her and resolve her problems and frustrations together. This experience of being a mentee puts her in the shoes of Little Sisters when they approach her with their challenges.
“I understand how these girls are feeling because I was in their exact position once. I want to pay this kindness forward and impart what I learnt as a mentee to my mentee.”
The happiest moments in Nina’s journey as a mentor is when she sees her Little Sisters blossom. A Little Sister stepping up to become an enthusiastic participant is when Nina knows her time is well spent and she has made them feel a bit better. More importantly, that their lives will be a bit brighter, just as hers was made to feel all those years ago.
Nina shares that her Little Sisters’ resilience is something she finds truly admirable. They have taught her just how strong one can be, even with the odds stacked against them. One instance was when she witnessed how her Little Sisters grew in maturity, viewing their own lives positively even when it was difficult for them to do so.
To Nina, kindness is most important when sharing views or opinions with an opposing party. When advising Little Sisters, Big Sisters have to express their words with love. Big Sisters have a role to play of listening and being present to understand. Nina feels that as Big Sisters, it is important to learn to give Little Sisters the space, voice, and autonomy to help make them more receptive to make decisions for themselves. It is about giving them positive reinforcement and hope through showing kindness.
Though a Mentor now, Nina shares this does not mean that she is no longer a Mentee. She sees her Beautiful People journey, both as a Mentor and a Mentee.
Nina has many Big Sisters. She considers this one of the many gifts Beautiful People has given her. To her, this is something very special because she is blessed to be able to approach Big Sisters who specialise in different aspects. She goes to Dora to seek advice on her health, Irene for her career, and Meena for all arts and cultural aspects.
Nina has made many memories with Beautiful People. For one, she has used her talent as a singer to help raise funds for Beautiful People at various fundraisers such as at Loof, 2am:dessertbar, artistry and Blue Jazz Cafe. She continues to give to the ‘Family’ she has grown up with. Nina also actively participates in Beautiful People programmes, though busy with her life as a mother and working adult.
Nina shares that her only wish as she begins her journey as a Big Sister and Mentor is that she will learn the art of listening. By listening to gain a deeper understanding, Nina hopes that she will be more present in the lives of her Little Sisters and Little Brothers, just as her mentors remain in hers.