Join MCR Pathways to bring life-changing mentoring to young people in Caithness this January

Published by John O’Groat Journal & Caithness Courier

By David G Scott

An award-winning mentoring charity is looking for your help to provide more young people in Caithness with a mentor who’s there just for them.

Mentor Dennis with Kieran. Picture: John Linton Photography.

MCR Pathways, first established 15 years ago in Glasgow, believes that a young person’s future should be determined by their talents, not their circumstances. In 2023, MCR Pathways is looking for more volunteer mentors to get involved and help reach young people in Caithness, including those who are care-experienced or otherwise identified by the school as vulnerable, to build aspirations and fulfil their potential.

MCR Pathways is currently looking for mentors in Wick High School. Mentors spend an hour each week listening to and encouraging a young person in school and the relationship they develop makes all the difference. Not every young person has a trusted adult around them to turn to but MCR Pathways is on a mission to change this.

MCR young person Kieran struggled with school until he met his mentor, Dennis, who helped him find confidence and grow as a person. He said: “Dennis was giving up one hour, but that one hour meant the world to me because he genuinely cared about me.

“I really struggled with school, especially attendance. After my Mum passed away and I went into the care system I was dealing with homelessness and not really having anyone to rely on. I was trying to go to school and trying to make that a thing, but when you have no way of washing clothes it just wasn’t feasible.

MCR mentoring is making a statistically significant impact on educational outcomes for Scotland’s young people, helping them towards positive post-school destinations such as college, university or employment.

Fay MacRitchie, CEO of MCR Pathways, said: “MCR Pathways is a charity which believes that young people’s backgrounds or circumstances should not determine their future.

“Not only are the futures of our young people improved, but mentors also gain enhanced listening skills, improved coaching skills and a friend for life. If you can spare one hour per week to help a young person or if you’re in an organisation who could encourage staff to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.”

Across Scotland, there are approximately 7500 young people waiting to be mentored. Volunteering is the perfect way to start a new year, and by sharing your time you can make a real difference. An hour a week is all it takes to have a lifetime of impact.

“At the time I was also going to therapy and it was dredging up all the things I hated about myself and all the things I couldn’t control. It brought those problems to the forefront. When I met Dennis he saw that my form of escapism was imagination and being able to create. He helped support my confidence and helped me grow to be the person I am. Really, he’s been a pillar for me since I met him.”

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