Audrey is a retired doctor and MCR mentor. After taking early retirement, she was keen to ‘continue being useful’ and took up a variety of volunteer opportunities. Audrey tells us why she decided to get involved.
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
A friend mentioned that she volunteered through MCR Pathways and was really enthusiastic about this.When I looked into it I was impressed by everything I read about the charity – its aims and targets were clear, it had an effective infrastructure to support both mentors and mentees, it had excellent support from industry and local businesses AND could show that the young people were benefitting.
What changes have you seen in the young person you mentor?
The young person I currently mentor had issues with self-confidence and a difficult home life. She was also less ambitious, despite her strong school performance, and didn’t see herself as “university material” though she hoped to get to college. We have only been meeting for a couple of months but already I see a difference in her, in the way she can chat to me, in how she is opening up about her past and she talks with greater positivity about what she would like to achieve in the future.
“She has made me think about the remarkable resilience some young people have despite the challenges in their past.”
What have you gained from mentoring?
I have enjoyed mentoring because I feel I am doing a little to redress the balance between young people who have so many advantages (my own children included) and those who, through no fault of their own, have more than their fair share of challenges. I have felt honoured that someone whom I have met so recently has trusted me enough to feel they can chat to me so freely.
Our chats are fun, despite the fact they often have a serious note. She is teaching me the positive values she has gleaned from life and how she has managed the negative.
What would you say to someone about becoming a mentor?
If anyone was thinking about mentoring then I would say, seriously, don’t hesitate. Just be a good listener, support, encourage, be there for them in a way that is different from what they have around them currently.You are just a friend who has been around the world rather longer than they have, and can hear their troubles and fears and reassure them that their past doesn’t determine their future.