Julia, a Training and Employment Tutor, started her mentoring journey at Cathkin High School in Cambuslang late last year. After finely-tuning the skills she had learned through her career, Julia was eager to join the MCR programme and help a young person achieve everything they’re capable of.
Shortly after signing up, Julia was matched with Angel, a 5th year pupil who was at a crossroads and trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life. This was something Julia could relate to as she went through a similar situation at college.
“I enjoyed school to a point. When I went to college, I think I got to the point where I was just fed up. I’d had enough and I just stopped learning. I always wanted to get into the workplace, so I came to an agreement with my parents that, if I had something to move into, I could just leave. That’s when I started studying childcare.”
Once Julia and Angel began meeting they were able to build up a great relationship, even in just a short period of time. This made a big difference on Angel’s outlook on life. Julia shared:
“Some of the changes I saw were in her confidence and communication. She opened up about a lot of different aspects, both within school and out of school life, and she got a lot more motivated.
“When I first met Angel, she didn’t believe in herself. She would think that she couldn’t do things and that she wasn’t good at everything. Now she’s starting to believe. She’s got new strategies to be able to cope with different things.”
Although Julia works with people of all ages through her job, through mentoring she’s picked up new skills and has started to look at things differently.
“Mentoring changed my perspective, especially on the listening aspect. I make sure to let Angel speak and then recap what she said back to her, so that she knew that I was listening. It prevents the urge to jump in and stop the conversation halfway through.
“I think mentoring has also changed the way that I view young people now and the different backgrounds that everybody has. Not everyone’s the same. So, definitely just listening and understanding how people live and have been brought up.”
Julia says she’s learned a lot from mentoring, but the best thing about it is the relationship with Angel. Julia says her favourite part is:
“Building that relationship. Having something completely different from what I’ve been used to in my own personal working life, and just getting that sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you’re helping somebody, even just for 50 minutes a week. Angel and I were constantly running over, it was never just 50 minutes! Just knowing that you were coming to see that person and knowing that you were there for them is a huge, proud achievement for me as an individual.”
After establishing a great connection with Angel, learning a bunch of new skills and being so passionate about helping out young people, Julia has a message for anyone who’s thinking about signing up to become a mentor:
“If someone’s thinking about joining MCR, definitely go along to the information sessions. Just do it! If you can spare that 50 minutes a week to help somebody and just be there for them, then go ahead. It’s one of the best experiences you’ll ever go through.”
Have you been inspired to become a mentor after reading Julia’s story? You can #BeTheBridge for a young person and register to mentor via the button below.