We spoke to Lily, 15, about her experiences with MCR Pathways, one of our charity partners:
I was a very anxious person, I had loads of issues with my friendship group at secondary school and I didn’t feel I could express it. It was all going downhill and I kind of hid away in a little hidey hole. Until the mentoring programme came along – it’s helped incredibly.
My mentor’s name is Ellie and she’s my best friend – I love her so much. We’re really close, we have lots in common and she helps me with a lot of different things. She makes me feel very open and happy.
During our first conversation, it was awkward as we’d just met but I felt comfortable straightaway with her, it was a totally new feeling that I can’t even describe - like I could trust this person, and say anything to her. She’s amazing.
I want to be an author and I’m in the middle of writing a book right now and Ellie’s helped me with ideas for the plot and characters and stuff so that’s our main topic of conversation.
In the future I want to write for teens and adults. I’m still in the planning phase but soon I’ll start writing it, but I’m having to fit it in around revision. I find writing very peaceful.
I feel the same but in some aspects I’ve changed; I’m still shy when it comes to new people but I warm to people more quickly than I did before – it’s boosted my confidence. I used to go to Student Services a lot with my worries, but my teachers have noticed I’m not there so much anymore – I’m more confident and my friendships are getting easier. And I’m more confident at home too - I used to go straight to my room when I got in from school but now I’m chattier. I’m happier now, yeah I’m alright.
When I first got introduced to the programme I was very nervous about it – and I had my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t be matched with an old person! But I’ve felt very happy with the programme, it’s just really helpful. I would recommend people to do the programme because it can help you with your worries about school and expressing yourself. You meet them once a week and you can unload on them, have a conversation.
MCR Pathways is a national mentoring charity dedicated to address the deep-rooted inequality in education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances for young people in care and from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Young Herts Talent is a school-based mentoring programme that matches volunteer mentors with secondary school students to support them through one-to-one mentoring sessions in school for one period a week.