As part of Care Experienced week, Rebecca, a Right There volunteer mentor, tells us about her mentoring journey from mentee to mentor.
As someone who’s life was changed by mentoring when I was younger, when the opportunity came up to become a mentor with Right There, I jumped at the chance. Being able to make a positive impact on a young person’s life, like my mentor did for me, feels like coming full circle.
Right There’s mentoring programme currently supports 25 care experienced young people, with a one-to-one mentor for up to two hours every week. As a volunteer mentor, we dedicate our time to help young people achieve their goals, have fun and take part in lots of different activities. By doing things that might be out of their comfort zone (and ours!), we can start to build trusting relationships with the young person, as well as supporting them to find confidence and develop skills to help them to create the future they deserve.
What encouraged me to volunteer was the impact mentoring had on my life as a care experienced young person. As a teenager my defining traits were my autism, anxiety and depression. The combination of the three left me paralysed with fear at the thought of leaving the house and any social interaction was intimidating and exhausting.
After being matched with a mentor and spending time trying a whole range of different activities – from music lessons to ice skating to button making classes, I gained so much confidence and was able to achieve goals that I never thought possible. With the support and kindness shown from my mentor I can honestly say it changed my life and I learnt a lot of important skills that I still carry with me today.
That’s why mentoring matters so much to me. Never did I think when I was younger that I would one day be a mentor myself! I’ve recently been matched to my young person, Sinead, and I am looking forward to absolutely everything! I can’t wait to experience new things with her and get to know her better, and most importantly, hopefully make a positive difference in her life. What I would say to anyone who is thinking of becoming a mentor is that it only takes one hour of your week to change the direction of a young person’s life.
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Right There exists so that everyone has an equal chance to create a safe and supportive place to call home.