Mental health nursing student Leanne Patrick from Dollar is a volunteer mentor for social care charity Quarriers in The Forth Valley and is calling on like-minded people to follow her example.
The mum-of-two is interested in childhood and adolescent mental health and through her nursing training she has been exploring how to develop resilience in individuals who have had a difficult start in life.
Leanne explained what attracted her to volunteer as a mentor. She said: “It was 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.”
Mentors are carefully matched with a mentee who has similar interests, helping to form a strong bond from the very first meeting.
Leanne said: “My mentee and I both like to try new things, we’re also going to visit a Christmas market soon to check out their craft stalls for ideas since we’re both quite crafty and love Christmas!
“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.”
She added: “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.”
Leanne is keen to encourage other people to sign up and make a difference to the lives of young people living in care. She said: “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 rolled out the programme earlier this year calling on caring and supportive people to volunteer as mentors for vulnerable children across Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.
The social care charity is one of 13 charities from across Scotland selected to roll out intandem, a project funded by Scottish Government and delivered by Inspiring Scotland. intandem provides support via a mentoring programme to some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children aged between eight and 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.
If you would like to get involved and help to deliver this valuable service, Quarriers is looking to recruit volunteer mentors for children across Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.
To apply for a position as a volunteer mentor or for further information please contact:
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