Volunteers are vital to Go! Youth Trust. They run our after-school clubs, join us as leaders on residentials, and train as mentors to support dozens of young people every year. We would not be able to reach the number of young people or offer the level of support we do without people like Maureen who volunteer their time every week.
Maureen began volunteering with GYT in 2018 when she started coming along to the after school club at Langlees Primary School. After hearing about the programme through friends, she decided to become a mentor as well.
“My friends spoke about how much they enjoyed the programme. That encouraged me to step up and help. If I’m honest, I was really nervous but looking forward to it.”
The nervousness subsided when Maureen met her mentee, Taylor.
Each week, along with activities, they chatted about what Taylor struggled with at school. For the sessions, Maureen used different resources to show Taylor this was a space she could share her feelings. They worked through coping strategies to deal with anxiety.
“We played a dice game where you answer questions depending on the number you roll. This opened up conversations that wouldn’t happen otherwise.”
Maureen has seen how this experience helped Taylor, allowing time to reflect and discuss areas she found challenging in the past.
Taylor has become more confident, self-assured, and grown less anxious. A bond has formed between mentor and mentee. As Maureen says, “she makes me laugh, I would say that’s definitely one of the most enjoyable things.”
Another key positive was the communication at home. Maureen could update Taylor’s Mum on the progress she made during the sessions.
“Her mum is very appreciative of the support and encouragement given through Go! Youth Trust.”
As the face-to-face mentoring stopped due to Covid-19, this communication became especially important. The situation could have been detrimental for Taylor’s progress, however, Maureen stepped out of her comfort zone once again and began mentoring online. This was an uncertain time for Taylor but Maureen was available each week to chat, play games, and support her virtually.
“Her mum was open to trying this new style of mentoring using online conversations. That wasn’t easy because it was different, but we played online games. I could see her controlling her anxiety and getting that wee bit more confident. She cheers up and I cheer up. Her mummessaged one time to say how much she enjoyed hearing Taylor laugh.”
Though this work is focused on helping Taylor, Maureen feels she has also learned from her mentee. “It benefits and blesses you,” Maureen explained. “It is something I look forward to every week.”
It was an idea that Maureen initially shied away from, but it has not only helped her own confidence but her prayer life also.
To anyone thinking of becoming a mentor, Maureen says, “just do it!I hesitated, but there was no need to have that fear or reluctance. I have had such a positive experience.”