Meet The Volunteer Mentors Behind GCC’s MCR Impact Report

“For a young person to have someone who is interested in them – not an educator or family member – is very valuable. All you have to do is listen with a respectful ear. That sort of support is something that anyone can give if they’re committed to it”, MCR Mentor Douglas Forbes

Glasgow City Counil’s 2017 Impact Report was published this week. It shows the transformational difference MCR’s Young Glasgow Talent programme is making to young people right across 15 Glasgow Secondary schools.

We were delighted to share the report which shows the ground-breaking outcomes our Young Glasgow Talent programme is achieving. It shows that mentoring matters. A volunteer mentor, through providing a listening, encouraging ear, makes a profound difference to our young people’s educational outcomes and career opportunities.

 

To see the full report click here.

Mentoring involves getting to know the young person, building on their interests and hopes and allaying their doubts and fears. By being a positive role model you can have a profound effect on building self-confidence, skills and aspirations in the lives of young people who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own. It’s about realising the full potential of the young person and empowering them with the confidence and belief to make it happen.

Douglas was paired with Stephanie, an intelligent and chatty pupil at St Andrew’s Secondary in Carntyne. While appearing to be confident, Stephanie was actually experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem. Through their weekly mentoring sessions, Douglas helped Stephanie to have faith in her own abilities and to make decision about her future education and career paths.

“I was interested in volunteering, particularly as I approached retirement. I read about MCR Pathways in The Herald and was immediately interested in the programme.

Prior to getting involved, I was unaware of the appalling stats regarding the pathways for cared for young people. I understood the disparity regarding access to high education for people from deprived communities compared to their more affluent counterparts, but I was unaware of the additional disadvantage facing care-experienced young people.

At our first meeting the MCR Pathways co-ordinator joined us for 30 minutes or so to introduce us and see how we got on. This really helped to break the ice but we needn’t have worried because Stephanie was blethering away and seemed quite relaxed.

In many respects, Stephanie and I are from totally different backgrounds, but we were still able to establish common ground and have discussions about issues which interested her such as politics. She was very excited about the Scottish referendum and I would challenge her to make her think more about her views.

As our relationship progressed, the MCR programme encouraged us to set some more formal objectives.

Stephanie is a bright young woman who knows her own mind. She’s independent and very good at going off to do her own research but she rebels against structure. She has a lot of the positive traits that I look for in university students. I encouraged Stephanie to have confidence in her own abilities.

For a young person to have someone who is interested in them – not an educator or family member – is very valuable. All you have to do is listen with a respectful ear.

We need more mentors. The young people need mentors.”

When schools return after Summer we’ll have many more amazing young people like Stephanie signing up for MCR’s help with our Young Glasgow Talent programme. They need mentors to make a huge difference to their confidence, educational outcomes and future life chances. Can you help them? You’ll guide disadvantaged, but hugely deserving and ambitious young people through their education. Find out more about becoming a mentor.

Can your organisation help? To become involved in our Talent Taster programme, alongside our partners, simply GET INVOLVED!! We can’t wait to work with you to offer our city’s most needy a gateway to an expanding menu of opportunities and tasters of university, college and employment.

We’re always looking for new mentors to reach all the new young people who are coming on board with the programme. Help us spread the word by letting your friends and family know how worthwhile mentoring can be!