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The Gift of Time - Ambah & Danielle's Story

Evidence , Stories   |   April 8th, 2024

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"I’ve never had to crave having a normal space or wanting to be anywhere else. Because I had you every week." Ambah 


The mentor-mentee relationship between Danielle (mentor) and Ambah (mentee) has spanned over seven years from March, 2017 to March, 2024 when they formally closed their match as lifelong friends.
According to Danielle and Ambah, the years have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, and they both agreed they had become like family over their years together. 


The Beginning of the Match 

Ambah encountered a few challenges after moving to New Zealand from the islands. Feeling isolated can be exacerbated by a new school, a large family, and limited resources. After being referred by her school and welcomed into the Upside whānau, she was soon matched with her mentor, Danielle. This match dramatically shifted Ambah's perspective on life. Where she once faced challenges, she now had a consistent role model and friend by her side each week. Danielle provided a sense of stability and normalcy that Ambah desperately needed. 

Their weekly hangouts baking, playing games, or simply chatting gave Ambah an anchor point in her life. With Danielle’s unwavering support, Ambah was able to face difficulties with a new sense of confidence and hope. 

Commitment Through Ups and Downs 

Even though life has its highs and lows, Danielle and Ambah stuck with their mentoring relationship. Ambah appreciates that Danielle never quit on her, even when things got tough. Their decision to give mentoring a shot and support each other through challenges is truly inspiring.

Danielle's dedication as a volunteer mentor shows patience, resilience, and care crucial for mentoring. Her persistence led to growth in Ambah's life. Both showed courage in the process. Ambah's trust created a connection. Danielle's consistency motivated Ambah. With both choosing to consistently show up and be open to vulnerability together.

They faced everything life threw at them, from pandemics and storms (literally), to celebrating milestones and changes in each other's lives. And it wasn’t just Ambah but her whole family who felt supported by the relationship.  Their story really shows how important it is to stick by each other through thick and thin, creating beautiful moments, finding purpose, and forming lifelong connections.


"It’s a gift that Upside has given to both of us." Danielle (mentor)

Danielle and Ambah share with us a little of their journey together.

 A Lasting Bond 

Even though their official time with Upside has ended, Danielle and Ambah are determined to stay connected forever. It's not just a mentorship ending; they're like family now. While the formal mentoring is done, Danielle will always have Ambah's back, and their bond and memories will continue for years to come.


"I'm so proud of you and who you are, you’re this amazing young woman!" Danielle


The Impact of Mentoring 

Ambah's life has been transformed through her relationship with Danielle, who has been a consistent role model.  Danielle helped nurture Ambah's growth from a young girl into a wonderful young woman. Ambah recalls that during their weekly hangouts, "I used to just sit there and laugh and laugh and laugh." 

While the mentoring has impacted Ambah tremendously, Danielle also expresses gratitude for the gift Ambah has been in her own life. She acknowledges that the mentoring relationship hasn't only transformed Ambah, but has also impacted her deeply as a mentor and as a person. 


“Danielle is the older sister I never had". Ambah (mentee)


Share Memories and Bonding

Danielle and Ambah shared many special memories over the years that formed the foundation of their close bond. Baking together was a favourite, where they would whip up sweet treats and enjoy each other's company. Ambah fondly recalls always taking home extra icing after their baking sessions - leading to maybe one too many sugar highs! 

Reading books together was another regular activity they loved. Curling up on the couch and getting lost in a story allowed them to bond over their shared enjoyment of reading. During their seven years together, they also watched many movies together, laughing and making memories.

Danielle and Ambah made a point in planning to continue reminiscing over dinners even after graduating from their official match. These dinners will become a special time to celebrate their enduring connection. 

A Special Match 

Danielle and Ambah's bond is truly special. Over 7 years, they built trust and a sisterly connection that brought joy and stability. Their commitment to each other helped them navigate life together, creating space for growth, laughter, and cherished memories. This powerful story speaks volumes about the magic that happens when we open our hearts to mentorship. Danielle and Ambah’s journey encourages us to say "yes" to stepping into mentoring opportunities in our own communities. Their special match models the profound impact possible when two individuals consistently show up for one another with wisdom, empathy, and unwavering support. 

Mentoring relationships like Danielle and Ambah's show the profound impact mentors can have on a young person's life. If their story inspires you, here are a few ways you can get involved and help create more mentoring matches: 

Volunteer as a Mentor- Bring your time, energy and care to change a life story. Commit to meeting with a young person weekly for a year or more to provide guidance, support and inspiration. Learn more about becoming a mentor here.  Please note : while this is a very special long-term match, the minimum commitment is 12-months. 

Donate - Make a difference by making a gift each month. By becoming a member of The Koha Crew means you’re making a difference in young people’s lives everyday. Your monthly donation supports the mahi of Upside and volunteer mentors as they navigate life with their mentees. Make a monthly donation to support more mentoring relationships here

Spread the Word - Tell your friends, family, coworkers and social networks about the difference mentoring makes. Follow Upside on social media and share posts about mentoring matches. Help get the word out about this powerful intervention! 

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