Why I joined Llamau as a Volunteer Mentor
Story by Melissa – Llamau Volunteer Mentor
My mentee, Becky, is a right character. She has a great personality and never fails to make me laugh.
She’s very knowledgeable about things like politics and loves her conspiracy theories and she’s a talker, which is good because I am too, so we get along brilliantly.
Becky’s only 21 but she’s been through a fair bit in her life so far, so it’s no surprise that she struggles with her self-worth and confidence at times.
I became a mentor to support young people just like Becky. After some trauma in my own life, I made the decision to walk away from my 18 year career as a Sales Manager for Lloyds and start again. I’ve always been involved in charity work so I decided to go to University and focus on building a new career working with young people.
I’ve had to learn some of my hardest life lessons in my 30’s, so knowing just how different a world young people are now growing up in – with the pressures of social media on top of everything else – made me want to offer some sort of help and guidance. It’s easy for a young person to make a bad choice and think that choice will define them in life but, as a mentor, I get the chance to remind them that the choice they made was just a chapter in their life that they can turn the page on.
The training I had before meeting Becky was fantastic. It focused on things like safeguarding and boundaries, which helped me feel comfortable ahead of my first meeting with her.
Our first meeting was a virtual one, alongside her Support Worker and the programme manager, Sam. We then met face to face and realised quickly that we got on well. Becky and I now meet at least once a week for a walk, a coffee or lunch or even a pamper day. We talk about anything and everything but Becky usually leads this. We recently took a six mile walk together, enjoyed having our nails done and on another occasion took apples and carrots to feed a horse we spotted in a field. Getting outside, walking and talking is so good for mental health, which we both feel the benefits of.
It’s difficult to say what impact I’ve had on Becky as her mentor. I couldn’t say whether she’s made any changes to her life based on what we talk about or whether she plans to, but, when she says something like “This is the best day I’ve had in ages…” then I feel like I’m doing something right and that I’m on the right career path.
Becky has taught me a lot as well. She’s very inspiring. Mentoring is definitely a two-way relationship. So many people go through life unseen but if you just take the time to get to know them, you’ll see how much potential they really have.
Could you be a Volunteer Mentor to a young person? For more information contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org