STORIES

Young People

Ryan

Having someone there to help out and take interest in what I was doing and what I was hoping to achieve greatly improved my opportunities and attitude. When I was still at school there were many times where I felt like just leaving due to conflicts in my personal life. Having the support of a dedicated person convinced me to stay on and sit my exams after almost leaving 2-3 months before. Even after leaving school, after those exams this dedicated support continued and helped me to come to terms with what I needed to do for my long-term goals to be achieved. This kind of support not only helped me in the short term but also in the long term. I'm more active in my approach with what I want to do because with a little push from people I was able to actually get somewhere. All it took was a bit of a shove in the right direction and someone like my MCR Mentor to take an interest in me to go from potentially nothing to now attending college and having a job. A lot of opportunities opened up for me through this kind of help and I'm glad I was given it and I struggle to think where I would be without it."

Nicole

During my time in care although the family were great I felt like I had no one to speak to about the way I was feeling. I felt as though I would have been "bothering" people and thought people would think I was being silly about the way I was feeling ... the feeling that I had no one to turn to other than family members but I felt like they had the same problems as me so how could they help when they were going through the same.

I left school roughly about the age of 15 and at one point in my life I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. I had unofficially left school due to a past experience that had gone on in my life. I had no qualifications, no experience and most of all no confidence. I lay in my room not trusting anyone or wanting to speak to anyone for a long while. I felt useless as I felt like no one would want to help someone who had been in care and dropped out of school with no way of demonstrating the potential I knew I had. I began to be contacted from a dedicated person who worked at my school who recognised my potential and believed in me.... finally I felt like someone other than my family had belief in me and was willing to keep trying to engage me to try out the new MCR course they had developed. With the confidence I had I kept saying no but she was persistent and encouraged me to try it out.

Seeing how much belief she had in me and encouraging me finally made me realise this is what I needed to do. Being encouraged into the course by my dedicated person and her regularly visiting the place where my course had been really helped focus me and give me the confidence to move onto my next stage. On this course I won an award and went to Edinburgh to receive it at the Scottish parliament from some MSPs. After all this I continued onto college to study my first year of Child, Health and Social Care. I completed this after one year and received a Grade A. My dedicated person also linked me with Action for Children who through CV support etc helped me get more confidence and ready for work and they too put me in for another award. The biggest one yet, Woman of Influence Community Award and I won! I needed to attend the Grand Central to receive my award alongside Olympic Gold medalist Katherine Grainger who also won an award. I was in the Evening Times Newspaper and the Herald newspaper. I am now in my second year at college and hope to gain more qualifications to get me into university to become a nurse or counsellor to help others like I was helped. I suppose the moral of my story is to let others know that having someone to talk to other than family members, someone who is willing to listen to you and believe in you is the key to where I am in my life at the moment. If I had not had a dedicated person there to talk to give me the confidence boost I needed I really don’t know where I would be. Speaking to someone and having someone there to listen may be all you need to help you get over the walls that are holding you back.

Liam

Coming from a financially deprived, single parent family and spending years at a time both in care and a homeless unit, it was very difficult for me to learn and get good grades at school, this probably won’t be a surprise.

At the time I went into care I was in primary school learning support classes for Maths and English and found it very had to learn. After leaving primary and going on to secondary to have someone like my school mentor made that scary transition so much easier. Having that person there who supported and believed in me but wasn't a family member, helped massively through not only all the challenges education brought but those of life on a day by day basis. Struggling with confidence and unsure of what I wanted to do my school mentor took notice of this and encouraged me onto a construction college course during my school studies. This helped me as an individual with my confidence and gave me an insight into a career I wanted whilst helping me focus on being successful in the pursuit of that career. Even when I let things slip from time to time she was always there to get me back in line and make sure I was meeting all my deadlines.

From learning support in primary to leaving school with 4 Highers and into a BSc (Hons) university course is something I’m very proud of. Even after I left school, my MCR mentor was so willing to help when I applied for my much needed scholarship, helping me with the application and giving me a reference. I was successful with my scholarship application and it will make so many things possible that weren't before; overseas work experience, european trips and general sponsorship of my studies.

My current and future success in my opinion wouldn't be possible without someone like my MCR mentor looking over me throughout all my struggles and accomplishments. I'm now on my second year at university and aim to finish with a First Level Degree and would love for her to be at my graduation to see how much of a real impact she has had on my life and that I am forever grateful. I now look to the future and hope to go on after university to have an ever successful Building Surveying career and have an amazing life with none of the hardships I went through as I grew up. 

Maureen

My MCR mentor managed to get me on to the 'Access to Primary Education' course even though I did not have the minimum entry requirements. She knew I had the ability but had struggled with things at home during some of my education so missed parts. The course gave me an insight into the career I was keen on and also gave me an insight into university life.

She encouraged me to aim higher and work harder. She also helped me with my UCAS and personal statement which I had real difficulty with. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have got the offers I have now received.

Earlier on in third year she also got me involved in the PX2 Motivational programme which at the time I wasn’t sure about as I had low self esteem, but getting involved really built up my confidence.

At exam time she supplied me with study equipment-motivating me to study and helping me achieve the grades I have gained.

She was someone I could talk to when worried and by listening and talking she calmed me down and motivated me in the right direction. When I had doubts about my ability to pass subjects she believed in me and helped me get one on one study sessions with teachers.

Personally I think my mentor is a great individual who has helped me as a person gain confidence, succeed and aim high in life.

Noreen

During school my mentor has helped me build up confidence and have access to a lot of courses that I wouldn’t have known about.

The type of courses that really helped my confidence were the PX2 Motivational Course, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and FARE.

FARE was a great programme paid for by the MCR Charitable Foundation. The FARE course built up my confidence and also helped me get a Youth Achievement and First Aid certificate.

My mentor also organised a variety of study supports for each of my subjects that helped me study and pass my exams.

I’m so glad I had a mentor. We still keep I touch.

Mentors

Nyree Tobias

It has always been my ambition to work with children and young people, however the opportunity never presented itself until Dr Graham Connelly introduced me to the University Intergenerational Mentoring Programme, which I was delighted to participate in.

I was introduced to my mentee as she was ending her second year at high school and agreed to meet on a weekly basis. This was important to allow my mentee time to get to know who I was and what my role was going to be, as there may already be a large number of adults around this young person impacting and influencing in a number of different ways. I am confident we now have a strong, healthy relationship and that she knows I only have her best interests at heart, as she grows and progresses through her schooling.

My perception of a mentor is someone who listens to, nurtures, supports and encourages a young person to enable them to strive and be the best they can be both academically and personally. To break down invisible barriers, source and create introductions to the right people both personally and academically, ask the questions that need to be asked or give them the encouragement and support to ask the questions themselves. Minimise any fear and let them know they have rights. A mentor should be someone who opens the door, holds the mentees hand and guides them through to the other side.

A mentor must also work in partnership with the school to ensure you are enhancing the hard work they already do. It is crucial the carer is also included and informed of what you are working on and how you have the young person’s interest at heart.

Along with my personal experience of looked after children within my own family circle and the role of a kinship carer, I believe my experience as a parent and manager along with my counselling skills have all assisted me in my role as a mentor, not to mention my role within CELCIS and the many talented, knowledgeable people I have met and who have regularly assisted me through the process.

The young person I am mentoring is focused on her career path as a lawyer and together we have researched the grades required from secondary education, looked at both the Further and Higher Educational routes to reaching her goal, along with relevant funding and scholarships available. I was able to assist my mentee in the final aspect of subject choice for S3/4 by sourcing advice from the Law Department in relation to access requirements and clarifying the selection process.

Along with organising visits to CELCIS and some partner organisations, going forward, we will arrange a visit to the University’s Law Dept to gain a sense of how things run along with meeting key staff and students as well as continuing to assist my mentee by widening her options and looking at a number of other career paths.

My mentee has also attended the University of Strathclyde summer school programme and is part of their S3 Focus West Group.

Education is an extremely important tool and it is one of the key tangible things we can ensure our children have as they enter into adulthood and the world of business. I realise how vulnerable these young people are and also how complex and challenging their life’s can be at times. I won’t accept second best for my child, so why should this or any other child be different. These are our children and we only want the best for them and I see a mentor’s role as that one to one support to assist this to happen.

I feel honoured this young woman has accepted me into her life and it is a privilege to know I could potentially be part of that core group around her who can make things happen and help her realise her full potential.

Carers

Mum of a family who benefited from the MCR Pathways programme

My school link has been a fantastic support to my kids and me for as long as I can remember. She has continually offered me and my kids great advice and a listening ear throughout the many years I have struggled with bad health and depression. I suffered from a heart attack and two strokes and being a single parent to five, without her guidance and help it would have been impossible to cope and see my children achieve and become the respectful caring young people that they are today. She also supported us through some really tough episodes when we had housing issues, home moves etc.

I have two kids still at school and doing really well. The other three have gone on to university or employment.

My school link has been involved with the family for such a long time and it gives me great comfort knowing that although she no longer works within the school I know that she is always just a phone call away for the kids or myself any time we need her advice or support.

I have difficulty in trusting other folk to confide in with health and family issues yet I have never felt at any time we cannot confide in her.

I would 100% recommend the MCR mentoring scheme to any pupils, parents or carers. Regardless of whether your kid’s future pathway is college, university or employment an MCR mentor will work with them to support their ambition. My family are living proof!