Proverbs 21:13 says, “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” Listening is more than hearing; it’s connecting with others. It helps us know where they are coming from and gives them the confidence of true care.

Here at Nicodemus we are committed to doing just that. We are a Christian charity, which began in 2012, with a commitment to supporting young people in the UK and Guatemala who are leaving residential care as well as homeless youth. After starting a youth mentoring programme, we realised that to maximise our impact we needed to train mentors in churches, which we now do in approximately 500 churches across the UK and Latin America. 


Jocelyn is now 26, she finally left street living eight years ago after seven years of living on the streets in Guatemala city. She was able to leave behind a life of being subjected to gang manipulation and violence, as a result of receiving support from the Nicodemus-supported street rescue team. Jocelyn grew to trust the team enough to take their advice and go into drug and alcohol rehabilitation. 


Once detoxed, Jocelyn agreed to have a trained mentor to support her in her new life, encouraging her to keep advancing, supporting her in completing her education, offering advice and most importantly listening to her as she talked about her life. 

Jocelyn completed her education via an online platform created by another Nicodemus partner and volunteered with the street rescue team by going with them to visit her former peers, often assisting the paramedic who runs the team to give first aid treatment that is frequently needed. It was invaluable to have Jocelyn with us as she could genuinely empathise firsthand with those on the streets and point out to them that it is possible to leave. She told them they could trust the support from Nicodemus which caused many to leave their former street life behind. Jocelyn, with the encouragement, prayers, Bible studies with her local church mentor and support from Nicodemus, went on to become a fully qualified paramedic. She now heads up visits to the street-living community, encouraging others there to follow in her footsteps and is training to become a Nicodemus mentor too. 

Jocelyn says: It is uncommon for a stranger to help the homeless, but when help came along I was not rejected. I need my friends on the street to know it is possible to change and get better.”

2 former Street living youth who have mentors with street living freind centre

A central skill for a mentor to learn on the Nicodemus mentor training course is how to listen well, with genuine interest and care. Many vulnerable and at-risk young people have never experienced the gift of someone who cares enough to listen first without jumping in with criticism and advice. Much healing can be achieved by non-judgemental, patient, reflective listening; all that is needed is for that person to feel they can trust their mentor before goals can be set and strategies organised to achieve them.


Melanie is now 27. She was in a supported-living programme where Nicodemus ran a cooking club on a weekly basis. Family mediation had failed, and so from the age of 16 she was accommodated with many others in a similar situation. All were unable to live with their birth or foster family for a variety of reasons, just like the young people in Guatemala, but a little better off in the UK, as they did not have to live on the streets or sofa surf (however there are still far too many young people in this situation in the UK). Nicodemus volunteers first encountered Melanie while she was learning to make healthy, nutritious, economical meals where they sat around a table chatting with the young people, but mostly listening. Just before she left supported living at nearly 18, Melanie accepted the support of a local church mentor who helped her to settle into her bedsit, encouraged her to continue studying hairdressing and then supported her when she fell pregnant.

"Many vulnerable and at-risk young people have never experienced the gift of someone who cares enough to listen first without jumping in with criticism and advice."

Melanie says, I would never have been able to keep going if I didn’t have my mentor. I had no one else who I could fully trust and go to for wise advice.”

Today Melanie and her son live together, and she works as a teacher’s assistant in a local primary school whilst also hairdressing on a part-time basis. She is a fantastic single mum and the relationship with her birth family is very much improved.


We are so encouraged by the stories of Jocelyn and Melanie and so many more we have had the honour of being a part of. Our vision, inspired by our Christian faith, is to continue to rescue and restore marginalised young people by equipping and empowering them with the necessary skills and resources to achieve a safe and secure transition into adulthood.

Could you be a mentor?

If you are interested in starting or are already running a youth mentoring programme in your local church or would like to upskill your mentors or volunteers in other projects where mentoring skills would be helpful, please take advantage of the online courses Nicodemus has created. We are offering to Evangelical Alliance members a free Foundational Specialist Mentoring course for one person per church or community group subject to evaluation. To find out more, visit nicode​mus​train​ing​.org​.uk or head to the Evangelical Alliance Great Commission resource pages where you can find our courses: eauk​.it/ nicodemus

Special Evangelical Alliance offer code: EVAL24

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