Hope joined The Kids Network in February and has since completed over 10 mentoring sessions with her mentee, Jan. Hope and Jan have done a great deal in their short time together – ice skating, t-shirt painting and tasting bubble tea to name only a few! This month, we’re sitting down with Hope to discuss how mentoring with The Kids Network has shaped her move to London, and what she’s got out of the experience so far.
Having moved from Derby, her hometown, to London in August last year, Hope was looking for a new experience and a rewarding way to spend her weekends.
“I used to work with a youth theatre and really missed working with young people and the energy that requires of you. It’s immensely rewarding”.
After doing some online research, Hope decided that mentoring with The Kids Network sounded a good way to do just that. Hope was appealed to the structured nature of the mentoring programme we offer:
“I liked the idea that the programme structure asked for a year of your time. Quite often with volunteering, you start working on a project and it can be quite easy for life to get in the way. For me, it felt like I was making a commitment to living here”.
Q: Before you started, what did you think mentoring would be like?
I wasn’t too sure. I was worried that I wouldn’t know London well enough, but it was absolutely fine because you discover new places together. One thing I was sure I wanted to do was set goals with Jan and help her achieve them, and we’re working towards those and much more, which I’m really happy about.
Q: Has anything stood out to you about growing up in London in particular?
I grew up in Derby, which is a much smaller city. It was nice to learn that my mentee’s high street was exactly the same size as my local high street at home. We come from completely different cities, but [like me at home] she was waving to the hair dresser and knew the lady in the corner shop. It was really nice to see that sense of community.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer mentor?
Do it! I was really nervous about the level of commitment I was able to offer, but it doesn’t have to be on the dot, every weekend. Life is flexible. I was nervous before I started because when you’re mentoring, you are on your own out the there. But that makes it all the more rewarding.
If you, like hope has done, believe you can change the life of a Little Londoner, why not mentor with us? Become a mentor today.