Debbie’s Story

My name is Liam and I am a Young Glasgow Talent Ambassador in S5. This month, I am off school on study leave and have decided to do work experience with MCR Pathways for one day a week. I am working with the marketing team as I am interested in a career in marketing. During my work experience, I have gotten a good idea of what the world of work is like at MCR Pathways.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview a mentor and create this success story. I sat down with Debbie who works with MCR Pathways and is a mentor in one of our Glasgow schools. 

Debbie has been a mentor with MCR for 2 years now, she is married and a mum of 2. During her free time she likes listening to music, reading and one thing she really enjoys is being a mentor.

Here is what I found out!

How did you hear about MCR Pathways and why did you choose to volunteer?

“I saw a tweet from MCR Pathways and it was just talking about what they did. At the time, I had my daughter, who was about 12 or 13. Her dad had been ill and been in hospital for a wee while and she hadn’t coped with it very well, even though we’ve got a big loving family. That got me thinking, “well that’s quite hard for her and we’ve got lots and lots of people in our family looking out for each other.”

What appealed to me [about mentoring] was that this was a chance just to spend some time with somebody else who might be feeling a wee bit like that and maybe didn’t have as many people around. I felt really strongly that everybody should have somebody around for them, depending on what was going on whether it be stuff at school or stuff with family.”

What was it like getting ready to be a mentor?

“Scary, exciting, nerve racking, and quite an emotional thing! I came along for my training and I was really excited. I felt like I was part of something that was really special, that was really going to make a difference and I was absolutely desperate to be matched up with a young person.”

What changes have you seen in your mentee?

“With the young person that I’m meeting now, the biggest thing I have seen is he has become more thoughtful. When we first met he was kind of carrying on quite a lot at school. What I’ve really seen is he has changed his behaviour, he turns up on time, he doesn’t get himself into trouble. I know his Pastoral Care teacher said he never sees him in the places that he used to expect him – which would’ve been on a report, on the late list, being excluded from class. We thought that he was going to leave [school] at Christmas and he’s coming back after the summer for 6th year, so he’s grown up a lot.”

What do you gain from mentoring?

“It makes me really happy, I really really like spending time with my mentee. We talk about a lot of different things. I have learned we both love music, he really likes 90s music, which is good cause I know a lot of that! What we do every week is we both have spotify and we’ll both listen to music so I’m learning a lot of new bands. I’ve gotten to know some up to date music, which is great ‘cause now I can say to my daughter, “oh is that so and so you’re listening to,” although she still thinks I’ve got a weird taste in music!”

What’s the best thing about being a mentor?

“Seeing my young person – seeing them change, hearing what’s going on in their life. Just getting a whole hour with someone who is willing to talk to you is really special. I think at one point he thought he might be leaving school with maybe 1 higher and now he’s talking about doing 3 in 6th year and going to college and different things.”

“It’s good to see that things can change and that actually there’s different ways to do things, ‘cause I think sometimes a lot of young people think, “oh that’s it I’ve got to get loads of highers and I’ve got to go to uni” and that’s not right for everybody.”

What would you say to others about mentoring?

“Do it.”

Why should they do it?

“It’s a good way to spend an hour and it’s a really simple easy way to help someone that needs just a wee helping hand. You learn loads about yourself actually, you learn to listen properly. It’s just really refreshing. I really like to hear what my young person has to say for himself and it’s nice to sit there watching him being really charming, funny and think, “you’re going to be okay no matter what”.”

Thanks for reading Debbie’s success story!

– Liam

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