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Horizons mentor Christon

Posted24.04.24

Meet Christon – our new Horizons mentor

Meet Christon, the new coordinator of our Horizons Mentoring Programme. With a passion for making a difference in his community, he brings a wealth of personal experience and determination to his role – we recently sat down with him to find out what motivates him, his approach to mentoring, and his aspirations for supporting young people. He started by explaining the programme he now leads.

“The main goal of the Horizons is to get these youths on a path to greatness. To make them aware that there are people in the community ready to support them to achieve their goals. It’s so easy for them to feel pushed out because they believe there’s nothing available for them right now. That can lead to homelessness.

There are many opportunities and programmes out there that can help them to build a happier future. It’s so easy for a young person to be led into crime, but we want to show them that we’ve got other opportunities they can take – without having to go down that road.

First, we build that relationship with the young person until they feel comfortable sharing their strengths and weaknesses. Then we tailor support to focus on available projects and services that meet their needs, whether physical or mental.

Everyone’s got their own different complexities that might have to be focused on and targeted. We want them to start interacting and building their life independently. Many of them are school leavers or are coming out of care so they haven’t got much family around. They need that extra support from our services and from their social worker.

Schools or social workers make the referrals, but it is the individual’s choice to engage with us. We can’t force them, we’re not members of the law. We’re just trying to get them on the best path. To build their self-esteem and see how they can fit within a society, which has previously pushed them out.”

Christon is motivated to make a difference in his community by his own life experiences. He is particularly passionate about working with young people, aiming to guide them towards a brighter and more promising future.

“I experienced challenges myself, while growing up in tough communities. But I was lucky compared to many of my peers to manage to detour my life into something positive. I want to show them that you don’t have to go down the path that they might think is ‘cool’ or they they’ve been groomed into.

While a life of crime may seem appealing to start with. The harsh reality is that it often leads to negative outcomes, such as prison or even death. On the other hand, prioritising education and a career opens-up doors to various opportunities and a better life.”

When discussing the challenges he anticipates in his new role, Christon emphasises the difficulty of building trust.

“Many of the youth have likely experienced various forms of neglect, both mentally and physically, especially if they grew up in care. It’s common for them to feel that their parents never had time for them. So why should they believe that we care about them?

But I know I’ve got quite a bit of knowledge to build a relationship step by step. I can’t expect them to just open-up, they’ve been through their own issues in life. as well. But I’m willing to make the steps and hopefully, we get all the best results.

Many of us have kids, and they’re the future so we need to keep them on the right path. And build a better tomorrow.”

The Horizons programme works with young people from aged 16-18 across London. If you want to find out more about the programme, you can do so here.

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