What it's like to be a volunteer mentor
2 Nov 2020
2 Nov 2020
A volunteer mentor is a unique position, aiming to support, walk alongside, listen and help guide the mentee. Many of the young people Break support have had contact with care professionals throughout their lives. It is so valuable to have someone just for them, who is not being paid and there purely because they want to be.
Anyone can become one provided they are open-minded and able to grasp the issues the mentee may face. We look for people who are able to commit themselves to the programme for at least a year and available for meet-ups every two weeks – our longest mentoring partnership has been going for 5 years!
Our mentoring team carefully match people taking into account geographical area, interests, hobbies, preferences and personality. Pairings have enjoyed various activities, such as bowling, going out for a meal or catching up for a chat over coffee - we aim for the relationships to grow organically.
Even throughout Covid-19, relationships have been able to flourish. The pandemic has impacted all of our lives and it has been a great support for our mentees to have had their mentors at the other end of the phone to call or text - especially at times when they weren’t able to meet in person.
A match that was made over this period was that of Kevin* and Jamie* who were paired up during lockdown. Jamie wasn’t engaging with those around him and was feeling really low. He needed someone with the right energy and it’s been fantastic for him that Kevin is so committed. Over the summer Kevin along with Jamie’s Transition Worker helped Jamie clear his garden. They also enjoyed a fishing trip which was an all-round success! Jamie’s confidence has really improved by being able to try new things with his mentor.
Another great pairing is Claire* and Jess* who were matched up two years ago. However wary Jess may have felt about working with a mentor beforehand, the two hit it off straight away. They both share a love of art and theatre and it’s been easy for them to find things to do together. Over that time Claire has played a huge part in Jess increasing her confidence in herself and others. They have built a mutual trust and talk about what Jess wants to achieve and how Claire can help her.
Training is provided and expenses are paid. Our mentoring team are always on hand for support when required and our volunteer mentors receive supervision sessions every three months and what some may see as smaller steps can in reality be great challenges for a number of our young people. The support a mentor gives can play a big part in finding the confidence to overcome these hurdles and in turn helping the mentee have a brighter future. If you would like to learn more or are interested in becoming a Volunteer Mentor contact the team today.
* we have changed their names to protect their privacy.