Trudy’s Story: Never Too Busy to be a Mentor

Trudy Shillum leads a busy life, juggling her career as a Broadcast Designer at the BBC, running an independent shop where she sells handmade self-described ‘kitsch’ and being a mum.

But despite her packed diary, each week she still makes the time to mentor her young person for an hour at Eastbank Academy. We sat down with Trudy to talk about why she decided to become an MCR mentor, how she manages to squeeze it in and why she hopes her colleagues at the BBC will follow her lead.

Trudy's story

Getting Involved

She first heard about the programme while at a craft show with her daughter, she says,

“The stall next to us was MCR Pathways. Me and my boyfriend both talked to the lady but then I didn’t do anything about it for ages, nearly 6 months. That’s when I decided I did want to do it and I could fit it in. I sorted it out with work and then it was pretty quick. That was in December and I was mentoring in January.”

She wanted an opportunity to give back and connect more with people outside her everyday life. Trudy shared,

“I think when you work in quite a corporate world, you kind of live in your own bubble. I wanted to do something that would make a big difference.”
Once she decided she definitely wanted to get involved she spoke to her boss who was quite eager.
“My boss was really excited that I wanted to do it, they’re quite interested in the BBC doing community things so I’m kind of an trial to see if it does fit in. It has been going well. So hopefully more people will be able to do it from work.”
Mentoring fits neatly into her schedule, and both her and her young person enjoy the routine they’ve set up.
“This year has been quite good. I’m going in the morning, so I can leave from the station by my house and be in Shettleston by half 8, meet him at 9 and be back at work with only missing an hour.”

Meeting and Connecting with her young person

Trudy remembers the first time meeting her young person very clearly.

“I was nervous. Before you turn up you don’t know if you’re gonna have a boy or girl and you don’t know if you’ll get along. We were really lucky that we immediately got on and he’s turned up for every meeting. We just chat, then there are some meetings when he wants to show me some music, so we listen to music. They’re not all conventional mentor meetings, where you just sit down and talk, but I think that helps with the bond and the trust.”

Over the weeks and months of mentoring, both developed a closeness and a trust that allowed her young person to talk more about his life and his future.

“I think he trusts me a lot more, he tells me a lot of stuff. He is definitely looking to the future, which is good. We are having ups and downs. I feel more comfortable telling him things,  we’ve kind of established me not being a momsy adult and he will take my guidance and actually listen.

He is very outgoing. Though his loudness can sometimes manifest itself unproductively, which is one thing we are trying to work on. He’s very artistic, he loves to dance, sing, music, and he loves drama a lot. I went to go to his dance show in summer, which he worked really hard on.”

Making an Impact

When we asked about the impact mentoring has had on her Trudy considered for a few minutes before answering.

“I’ve definitely learned how much you can care about somebody you don’t really know that well after spending just a little time with them. It can become a very important part of your life. And I worry about him. Without this we’d never really get a relationship. It’s strange how you just hope the best for someone.

“I feel like I’m doing something I always wanted to do, which is decent and more valuable for society.”

Just before we left, we asked Trudy what she would say to someone who was considering mentors. She thought for a moment and answered,

“I would say definitely do it! I think it’s really important that you can give it your all and that you’re in the right place in your life. But definitely do it.”

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