Meet Sam, our Horizons Mentoring Project Officer, who shares her story about coming to work for Evolve.
‘I was really excited about this role when it was advertised as I previously worked on a mentoring programme and I had heard of Evolve and the great work they do in the community working with vulnerable people. The work everyone does here is fantastic and the staff are lovely. It really makes a difference. Homelessness can affect anybody- and I mean anybody. I thought this job would be great as it would give me a chance to work at the early intervention stage again and I felt I could bring a whole lot more to the role.
My role as Horizons Mentoring Project Officer is funded by BBC Children in Need and John Lyons Charity, supports young people aged 10 to 16 who are at risk of social exclusion. The project covers South London (including the London Boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.) I help to match young people with volunteer mentors to increase their confidence and resilience, improve school attendance and attainment, and enable them to achieve their full potential.
What I enjoy most about my job are the days when I visit local schools. I feel that the real variety begins with the young people in the schools, on the days that I visit them. Currently, due to cuts, there’s not a lot of support and activities for young people and I’ve always said it’s so important to support them at the early intervention stage as a lot of young people slip through the net.
I think that some of the challenges that young people face (that I work with) can be anything from peer issues, family break-down in relationships, gang issues, internet bullying , ill mental health, learning needs etc. My job is about planting seeds, guidance, advice, some gentle direction, helping them to think about life in a more positive way and be more resilient -raising self esteem and confidence.
I want to help young people to work on their confidence, being able to cope, have stronger resilience, be more at peace, and support them to be more balanced, happy individuals. It’s so important to encourage and support young people as they are the next generation and if we can help them now then it will really set them up for the future, so they don’t become homeless or struggle with other issues.
My advice to someone considering mentoring would be: ‘Don’t be scared to ask questions, if you have any ideas, feed that through as well. We’re part of a team at the end of the day so whatever skills or experience you have; please bring that to the table. Be patient and non-judgemental. Make sure you have time because once you’re matched with someone, they need that consistency and your commitment to them means a lot, it says ‘I am here, I am interested in you, let’s work on whatever you need help with to be the best person you can be.’
If you would like to learn more about how to get involved with mentoring a young person in London, click here.
If you would like to work for Evolve, please see our vacancies here.