Published by Ayrshire Post
Written by Stuart Wilson
A “life-changing” programme which mentors young people in North Ayrshire is on the hunt for volunteers to join its service.
Award-winning charity MCR Pathways is looking for 150 people to step forward and help provide a “transformative” change for youngsters in the region.
Their partnership with North Ayrshire Council will see the project, first launched at Auchenharvie Academy in 2018, expand to a further five schools.
Ardrossan Academy, St Matthew’s Academy, Garnock Community Campus, Irvine Royal Academy and Greenwood Academy will also now benefit from the project.
MCR Pathways helps young people, including those who are care-experienced or have experienced disadvantage, to “build aspirations and fulfil their potential”.
Through the Young Ayrshire Talent programme, they are encouraged to stay on in school and get the most from their education.
They are matched to mentors who look to boost their confidence, overcome challenges and build towards a positive future.
Now the charity wants volunteer mentors to commit just one hour a week, for a minimum of one year, to help take the service to the next level.
Mentors will be matched to a young person from a nearby school and are based on sharing common interests, having similar personalities or shared life experiences.
It currently includes a mix of online and in-person support.
Graeme McEwan, CEO of MCR Pathways, said: “Our partnership with North Ayrshire Council will make a huge difference to so many young people.
“The impact of the MCR Pathways programme on improving attainment and positive destinations for young people after school is transformative.
“The support of a mentor is unmatched in boosting young people’s confidence, self-esteem and belief that they can achieve their goals.
“Mentors can make a life-changing difference, and have fun too.”
“Our volunteers are from all walks of life; anyone can be a mentor, you just need an hour a week and the desire to help.
“We’d also love to hear from local employers who would like to support staff in becoming mentors.
“Mentors and their employers gain massively from the experience for relatively little time commitment.”
Councillor John Bell, spokesman for education, added: “We are really pleased to be extending our partnership with MCR Pathways.
“Their well-established model of supportive mentoring for youngsters has already proven to be a real success for a number of pupils at Auchenharvie Academy.
“We would like to encourage local people to consider volunteering as mentors and full training for this rewarding role is provided.”
And Linda Davis, depute head teacher at Auchenharvie Academy, said: “The input and support from our MCR coordinator for our children has been such a positive experience for everyone involved.
“Excellent relationships have been established with our families and they see Stephanie [Auchenharvie Academy’s MCR Pathways Coordinator] as someone who is there to help and support them.
“There is a real trust and children see her as a ‘go to’ adult within our school.
“Staff see her as one of the team who has the best interests of our pupils at the heart of everything she does.”