16 Oct 2008

Our first mentoring project was launched early this year in Greenwich and already we’ve had 40 volunteers trained and ready to be matched up with mentees.

In June, our first pair were introduced to each other. Because the mentoring project allows the children to select their own mentor, it means that they can really choose a mentor who suits their needs. Each young person looks through the profiles of potential mentors and chooses one based on things like hobbies.

Tenika (aged 12) chose Tina because she was impressed with her art skills. She thought the picture of Tina looked kind and that she had a nice smile.

Tenika and Tina first met each other at Tenika’s home, along with their project worker and Tenika’s mother. The two got to know each other and talked about the kind of things they might like to do together.

Tenika was very excited, as some of the things that Tina had suggested, she had never experienced before. They decided that at some point soon they would go on a picnic, as long as the terrible weather could hold off for long enough!

For the first few sessions Tina and Tenika went to the local library to get to know one another a bit better. Here Tina taught Tenika how to do the bubble writing Tenika had loved so much on her profile. Tenika said what she enjoyed the most was just having someone who would really listen to her and what she had to say.

In fact, Tenika’s school have noticed how improved her behaviour has been recently, and fed back to the project that at her case review meeting Tenika eloquently expressed how much of an impact having a mentor was having on her, and how much she was enjoying having Tina around to talk to.

This week, for the first time, Tenika has not had a detention, a real improvement and a positive achievement for Tenika and her mentor.

When the two finally went on Tenika’s first picnic, they had a great time, even though they had spent half of it eating in the car to escape the rain!

Tenika said she really enjoyed having a picnic, and she would recommend it as a good activity for other young people. And Tina would advise mentoring to anyone, as the experiences and bonding that the two have built up together over such a short space of time has been great.

If you live in or near Greenwich or East London and can spare four hours a month to mentor a young person, please call Kiran Suri 020 8358 2000 for an information pack.

Names have been changed.