Giving back: Mentoring program inspires youth

Mentoring Cayman students tour Health City Cayman Islands.

Laura Durston

The Chamber of Commerce’s youth-development initiative, Mentoring Cayman, has been inspiring Cayman’s youth since 2002 and matches high school participants with successful mentors in fields they are interested in. This matching allows for knowledgeable discussions and support as well as workplace visits, social events, field trips and a careers and education workshop. The program runs from September/October until the following May/June and mentees and mentors meet once a month for a work day or program event.

Many business professionals volunteer their time and talents, with Mark Jordan and Rebekah Brooks among the program’s mentors. Each provide support and guidance using their different backgrounds and career paths.

Jordan is accountant/auditor for Davenport Development Ltd. and has been involved in Mentoring Cayman since August 2015. “I believe the youth are the future and that the world is on loan to our generation, to safeguard and prepare for future generations,” he says.

When he was young, Jordan witnessed first-hand the positive effect of mentoring due to his church’s youth involvement and the personal mentoring by one of his teachers. “That put my life on a ‘road to success’, and the impact was clear and tremendous,” he says.

Jordan tries to pass on this impact to his mentees in Cayman by providing an insight into both the office work and construction site aspects of Davenport, as well as taking an interest in their school and home life, and their future plans post-graduation and over summer.

“I use both my educational experience and work experience to help guide the mentees in their choices for post-graduation studies, school and work experience,” he says. “I make sure to encourage a strong work ethic, the willingness to do whatever comes their way to the best of their ability.”

Mentee Courtney Thomas with mentor Tamara Ebanks at a Mentoring Cayman luncheon.

Personal support

Rebekah Brooks has been involved in Mentoring Cayman for two years and provides a healthcare-related angle to mentoring as Managing Director for Baptist Health International Cayman Islands. “As a mother of three children, I see the importance of passing on my knowledge and skills to students,” she says. “I feel that the program helps provide personal support and assists with professional socialization to facilitate success in the student’s future endeavors.”

Brooks offers her mentee information about her career as well as guidance, motivation, emotional support and role modeling and is in the unique position of being able to offer advice on different aspects on healthcare.

“I am a nurse by profession, so I have tried to provide information on entering into the medical profession along with information on my diverse career pathway from nursing to healthcare business development to highlight that there are so many different career opportunities within the healthcare setting,” she says.

Brooks takes pride in her participation in the program. One of her favorite moments being invited to her mentee’s graduation. “I was so proud to be considered such a fundamental part of her development,” she says.