My Star Teens Mentorship Experience – Waceke (volunteer)

21st-25th March 2022

My experience began before the first day itself.

Star Kids admin, Vanessa, reached out in February 2022 to share a few ideas and the colorful poster generated by our inhouse graphics design team.

I took a step of faith and applied for a leave week that would coincide with the Mentorship event. I could use the rest while engaging in something I enjoyed ( hanging out with young people) . Mentally, I committed to general volunteering and support.

Days before the week, our first session’s facilitator asked me for help with the first session. Reluctantly, I stepped up to the plate, prayed about it and prepped for the session. I borrowed learnings from the facilitator himself (Pastor Edwin ), my previous highschool christian mission trips; books like Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, the Bible; and a morning show on Family Radio 316’s Jam 316 about Ambassadors for Christ.
Ready, set, go!

Monday, 21st March

Coming off a busy weekend and anxious about speaking to teens after a long hiatus, I woke up as early as usual. Nervous with a slight migraine. The kind I get when I’m anxious about a presentation or a pitch at work. I left Kiambu for South B, underestimating the traffic jam that morning.

To me, first impressions matter- although I believe time provides do-overs. Therefore, when I arrived 17-20 minutes past 9am, I was a little disappointed with myself. But, here I was, with value to share with my audience.

I got a warm reception by Vanessa as I quickly ran her down a sketch of the session’s content before we started.

One of the first things I noticed of the seated teens was how old they had grown from the last time I saw a few of them a few years back. Then, the eagerness in their faces; to listen, to learn, to jot down ideas.

We kicked off with a prayer then proceeded to the session; Connection by introductions ( I personally wanted to remember and address each of them by their name); the body of the message (Identity informed by Spirituality, Self-awareness, Purpose); aligning Identity to the Bible story of Daniel and his friends ( teenagers in a foriegn land); recap.

The voice in my mind prompted me to make it as relatable as possible. I value vulnerability in conversations; telling embarrassing or real stories of my own experiences, to show the next person that we can relate to something. I trust I achieved it with out- loud recollections of my teenage years’ mistakes and decisions, at any opportunity I got.. 

Later, snack time was relaxing; the light conversations we shared, the laughter, the warm tea and tasty samosas! To see the day come to a great close felt really fulfilling.

Tuesday, 22nd March
An enlightening, unburdening session on mental health.
Icebreakers were fun; we learnt each others’ birth months and parents’ names’ first letters;  without talking.

Towela, the speaker, was great at breaking down mental health to the teenagers. After learning the importance of articulating our emotions and practically doing a breathing exercise, the session took an unexpected turn. Atleast, to me.

The session allowed the teens to bare heartfelt, tear jerking emotions from life events that had shaped them; death of a parent, dysfunctional-family fights, rocky relationships with parents, socioeconomic changes at home, school interactions etc

I have to admit, I was not ready for that. I was glad Towela allowed the stories to be told. However long it took the teen to say it all out. She sat there, listening, without interruption.

As time flew by, we couldn’t do much but look at how much we’d made room for already!

A visiting volunteer and friend of StarKids ( Wendy)  joined us later, made us dance to no music ( haha), jump up and down and make commitments to ourselves; pertaining money, journaling, hobbies etc. Wendy was not shy to disclose that she was considering entrepreneurial interests to make and compound profit through savings.

Wednesday, 23rd March,

I missed this session to get a Covid-19 booster shot and deliver donations to a childrens’ center in my hometown but I heard that it was quite insightful and thought provoking.

I’m told that the children learned that for their mental health to do well in school, especially now with the condensed school years, it is important for them to understand their personalities, preferred learning styles and forms of intelligence. They understood that not performing well in academics does not mean that they are not intelligent as their intelligence may excel elsewhere.

Honestly, this in my opinion is something every child needs to hear.

Thursday, 24th March;

We had 4 young speakers; a daytime nurse & night baker (Yvonne), a youth pastor with a law background (Pastor Edwin, aforementioned), an architect (Victor) and a social worker Nelson, the self proclaimed man with a great smile and brown skin.

As is custom,we commenced with fun icebreakers to know more about each other in fun ways.Then, we were treated to insightful backstories as to how the speakers landed onto their current professions and what they were working towards.

They were vulnerable enough to share disappointments and successes.Also, they related well with the teens by weaving in practical steps to achieving one’s dreams/ goals and future careers.

It goes without saying there was not a dull moment during snack time and the outdoor group photo.

Friday, 25th March;

The grand finale!

Excitement was in the team I joined at the Sarit center bowling alley in Westlands. 

There, the teens took a trip around the mall as Vanessa sought colorful ankle socks in the street below, for those of us without any to complement our bowling shoes.
Wendy (I call her the Wenergy) and our day’s mentor Adel Mnene joined us just in time for the friendly match we had.

What started out as an unfamiliar sport, for the majority of us, turned into a fun, invigorating and subtly competitive match of balls and pins. It was fun to see all of us have fun winning, losing and cheering on one another. And the smiles and laughter of a few quiet teens in the group was refreshing to see.

Lunch

As the Star teens went out into the mall to explore, it was a good time for the ladies present to catch up and get introduced to one another. Looking back, the conversation reminded me that I am not alone in my career/ life struggles, as a lady and leader. 

We made our way across the road, to the Westgate mall for lunch. Roundtable icebreakers and Adel’s speaking session was an experience! We went from talking about our hobbies to showcasing them, where possible. Adel reminded everyone that there are unconventional jobs that we could all thrive in, if we’re willing to put in the work into our talents and hobbies.

I nervously sang the last song to boom on my playlist that morning. That was the first time I’d sung alone in public since a 2018 music audition. Thanks to Wendy and Adel, we all made a commitment to putting our hobbies and talents to work at any opportunity.
Consequently, I finally made good my commitment to have a long run before the end of the week. Clocked 6.46km in 47m18s.

It was a week for the books. 

My Call To Action


There are two seas in Palestine. One is called the dead, as it doesn’t give of itself. There are two kinds of people. Choose to give life through one’s time, insights or ear to the next generation.

You may reach out to Star Kids Initiative on 0799294705 or relations@starkidsinitiative.org to find out how you can give of your time.