“If I hadn’t had a mentor, I’m not sure where I would be. Douglas helped me be more decisive about my future. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to move away to university without having had a mentor” Stephanie, an MCR Young Person
Earlier this week we shared Glasgow City Council’s 2017 Impact Report. It showed the transformational difference MCR’s Young Glasgow Talent programme is making across Glasgow secondary schools.
We’re delighted with Glasgow City Council’s report, which shows that mentoring matters. A listening, encouraging ear has a ground-breaking impact on our city’s care experienced young people’s educational outcomes and career opportunities.
The longer MCR’s programme runs in each school the greater the impact. St Andrew’s Secondary, where we first started in 2007, best illustrates the extent. 100% of their mentored young people progressed to college, university or employment in contrast to a starting position of 31%.
Preparing to begin her second year of an MA Psychology and History at University of Dundee, we share Stephanie’s MCR Young Glasgow Talent story. Struck by her upbeat and infectious personality and talking ten to the dozen on a whole manner of subjects when you first meet her, it’s difficult to imagine that this 19 year old, from Saint Andrew’s has ever had issues with low self-esteem or anxiety. This was what led her to agreeing to have a mentor.
“I was lacking in confidence and feeling anxious all the time. My school’s MCR Pathways Coordinator suggested that a mentor would be a good option, so I could talk about how I was feeling.”
“I hoped to get help to be able to make a clear decision on what I wanted to do in the future. But, at the time when I was thinking about my future, a part of me wanted to be a gardener and I didn’t want to stay on at school. I also liked lots of different things and was really into politics. I wanted to become a botanist but my dad spoke to me and said I should go to university.
Stephanie was introduced to her mentor Douglas Forbes, a retired university lecturer, when she was 16.
“I didn’t know what to expect before I met my mentor, so I felt a wee bit anxious, if I’m honest. I wasn’t scared but there was a bit of the fear of the unknown”.
Stephanie and Douglas bonded quickly over an enthusiasm for politics and debate and their weekly meetings would involve discussions on philosophy, religion, history and even the various theories of the universe.
“It was good. We started talking quite quickly and ended up getting into political debates because it was the Scottish referendum arounds that time. We got along quite well from the beginning. It was fun.
I completed a really good internship with the Civil Service at Whitehall in London in 2015. I had spoken to my mentor Douglas before heading to do it. He said it sounded like it was a really good idea and really encouraged me to take part.”
“Douglas is a very idealistic person, very politically-orientated. He lives in Edinburgh and he would get the train into Glasgow to come to our meetings. I found him quite inspiring. I still keep in touch with Douglas now.”
With a variety of interests competing for Stephanie’s attention, Douglas was able to help her focus, make key decisions about her life and have confidence in her own ability.
“My mentor actually gave me the encouragement I needed to go to uni. He was a very calming influence and was a good balance against my extremely erratic behaviour and mannerisms. Having a mentor helped make me more decisive.”
“I actually don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t had a mentor. I’m more confident in what I do in my actions. I’m the first person from my family to actually go to uni. I know what I’m doing with my life, I know what I want to achieve in my life and I’m on my way to achieving that.”
When schools return after Summer we’ll have many more amazing young people like Stephanie signing up for MCR’s help with our Young Glasgow Talent programme. They need mentors to make a huge difference to their confidence, educational outcomes and future life chances. Can you help them? You’ll guide disadvantaged, but hugely deserving and ambitious young people through their education. Find out more about becoming a mentor.
Can your organisation help? To become involved in our Talent Taster programme, alongside our partners, simply GET INVOLVED!! We can’t wait to work with you to offer our city’s most needy a gateway to an expanding menu of opportunities and tasters of university, college and employment.
We’re always looking for new mentors to reach all the new young people who are coming on board with the programme. Help us spread the word by letting your friends and family know how worthwhile mentoring can be!