A Mentor is an adult volunteer who motivates, guides and supports disadvantaged young people towards the achievement of positive goals.
What is the purpose and why are Mentors needed?
Some young people are from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and are in need of extra support and guidance from a positive and trustworthy adult role model; our mentors provide help and support to these young people. The one thing that all the young people we work with have in common is low self esteem; by helping young people to discover activities and new skills, we can really help them to improve and achieve in many areas of their lives.
What does a Mentor do?
Each mentor is matched with a young person that s/he has something in common with. The first couple of weeks of the arrangement are about developing a trusting relationship with the young person; this might involve encouraging him / her to do fun activities such as playing tennis, football etc. This gives the mentor an opportunity to find out more about the young person and the type of goals that the young person might like to achieve over the six month mentoring period. Each young person has individual needs so the support you will offer may vary. This could include encouraging the young person to attend school on a full time basis, join a club, supporting him/her with reading skills or helping him/her to fill in applications for training or employment.
What sort of young people do we help?
The young people we help are from socially disadvantaged backgrounds; this may mean they struggle at school, are at risk of offending or they are neither in education or employment. They are all aged between 8 and 17 years of age and live within the Medway area. They are referred to us by various agencies such as the Young Offending Team, IPS, schools or Action for Families. They have all volunteered to be mentored.
How much time do I need to give and when will I be required?
The minimum requirement is a weekly meeting of 2 – 3 hours over a period of 4 – 6 months. Also, telephone calls, letters and e-mails are all contact methods that can be used to supplement the weekly meetings. You may be needed to meet during the day or evening but always at a convenient time for yourself and the young person.
How much will it cost me?
Nothing other than your time. All authorised expenses are reimbursed, including travel.
How will I know what to do and what not to do?
Full training is provided, totaling 10 to 12 hours. There is a short monthly diary form and expenses claim to fill in, with regular meetings to review progress. A mentoring handbook is also provided. In addition, there will be a number of informal social gatherings where mentors can meet and share their experiences.
What if I need help?
A mentoring handbook includes all you should need to know about mentoring. Back-up telephone support from the Mentoring Co-ordinator is provided. If you require more support a one-to-one meeting in person can be arranged.
What if I don’t get on with the young person or one of us has to move?
Don’t worry, this rarely happens. You will be carefully matched with the young person you are mentoring so that you will have at least one shared common interest. However, if it really does not work out on either side we would organise a new pairing.
Do I get to meet other Mentors?
Yes. You will meet other new mentors on your training and we also arrange a number of informal social gatherings where mentors can meet and share their experiences.