What mentoring means to me…

It’s always a privilege to see the changes and development that takes place with each young person on our Mentoring Programme, and there’s no better way to find out about its impact than hearing directly from the participants themselves. We asked one young person to write down what having a mentor has meant to her two thirds through her year long mentoring relationship, and this is what she wrote:

We also caught up with her valued mentoring volunteer Naomi, to find out a bit more about her experience in the role of mentor:

“After learning about the Youth Adventure Trust and all of the amazing things the charity does, I became a Mentoring Volunteer last year. I was so impressed with the time the Mentoring Managers put into training us, it really ensured I felt prepared and capable of taking on the role. We also have regular check-ins with the Mentoring Managers, so you never feel like you’re on your own! 

I’m in month nine of my volunteering journey so far and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve been able to really build trust with my young person, and it’s been incredible watching her confidence grow month by month. We use the fortnightly mentoring session for whatever she needs it for that week. Sometimes it involves finding a quiet space to do some schoolwork and revision, other times it involves doing something fun after a hard day at school, like a game of crazy golf, bowling or even going out for pizza as a treat! 

It’s amazing being able to offer support to a young person as they navigate secondary school, exams, and everything else that comes with it”  

Naomi is perceptive and sensitive to the needs of the young person she supports, tailoring the sessions to engage, support and inspire her. As a result, they have built a trusting bond where the young person is able to talk openly about her life, tackle challenges that she faces and build her confidence and self belief. With this support, she has truly gone from strength to strength.

Volunteering as a mentor is a hugely rewarding and impactful role, and one that takes time, energy, patience, empathy and compassion for a young person. Whilst people sign up with the view to helping someone else in need, we’ve found one of the magical and sometimes surprising things about mentoring is the positive impact the experience can have on the mentors themselves, as well as the young people they set out to help.

Mentors can experience a whole host of benefits including a sense of purpose and fulfilment, understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing young people, an opportunity for some time-out from their everyday life, training and experience in working with young people, and, not forgetting, the chance to experience and challenge themselves with some fun and different activities! When was the last time you tackled an ‘escape room’, raced in a go-kart or enjoyed some pony trekking?

As the year of mentoring draws to a close for Naomi and her young person, we’re looking forward to reviewing and celebrating all that these two amazing people have achieved together. Without a doubt, the experience will stay with them both, continuing to have a really positive impact on their lives to come. 

We are looking for a couple more volunteers to support a young person, starting in October, so if you are interested in this role, please do get in touch with our Senior Mentoring Manager, Becky Brotherton-Brown on 07592 664679 or becky@youthadventuretrust.org.uk