Real Lives: I am a positive role model for a care experienced youngster

Christmasmarketweb

Leanne Patrick says time and the willingness to share interests and activities are all you need to mentor a young person through a tough period in their life

TFN Guest's photo

7th December 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I’m studying to be a mental health nurse and am interested in child and adolescent mental health. I had been exploring how to develop resilience in individuals who have had a difficult start in life when I saw that Quarriers was looking for volunteer mentors for young people.

It seemed like the perfect way to put what I was learning through my studies into practice. I believe that a good mentor is a key component to building confidence and self-esteem and this struck me as an opportunity to make a genuine difference to the life of a young person.

Leanne Patrick

Leanne Patrick

Mentors are matched with a mentee who has similar interests, helping us form a strong bond from the very first meeting.

My mentee and I both like to try new things, we’re both quite crafty and love Christmas so we are going to visit a Christmas market soon to check out their craft stalls for ideas.

Quarriers is one of 13 charities from across Scotland selected to roll out Intandem, which provides mentors to vulnerable young people aged eight to 14 who live at home and are under local authority supervision.

Young people who have had an experience of being in care are among the most vulnerable groups in society and having a long-term supportive relationship with a positive role model is extremely valuable, helping them to work towards agreed goals and opening up opportunities that otherwise would not have been accessible to them.

A lot of what the role involves is supporting the goals of the young person, so my focus has been on helping to make these aims achievable.

I really hope that I can be a positive role model for my mentee and that she looks back on this time as something that helped her to believe in herself and be happy with who she is. I like to think that I’m a consistent and positive presence in her life, and we are having a lot of fun.

I’ve learned a lot about myself already. I feel that I’m on a journey; I’m walking alongside my young person as she moves towards her goal and that’s a real privilege as each day it brings something new to think about and reflect upon.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend signing up as a volunteer mentor with Quarriers. I was unsure of what to expect at first, but the training is excellent so I felt well prepared when it came to meeting my prospective mentee.

You must be prepared to make this person a priority in your life and if you’re able to do that, other than being compassionate and having time and energy to offer to someone, you don’t need to be a specific sort of person for the role.

Quarriers is currently seeking volunteer mentors to transform the lives of young people across Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire. Email [email protected] to find out how to get involved.