Last week I completed my training as a MCR pathways mentor and tomorrow I go to my school in Shettleston to meet my teenage mentee for the first time. We will be meeting for an hour every week, for at least the next 2 years. It’s my chance to give something back. I have spent most of my life sitting in a chair making shapes move and although I’m incredibly proud of my job and still feel so excited when I see something I’ve done or my name on television, at the end of the day it’s not going to change the world.
During the summer K and I helped Marnie with a wee stall at the 25th anniversary of her Afterschool Club where she sold badges she had designed to raise money for WWF. The pitch next to us was an MCR pathways information table. K and I got talking to the lovely lady and we both expressed interest. After the fete I just got back into the normal routine of the week, but with it always in the back of my mind that I really wanted to take part in the scheme. I asked my boss who was OK with me shifting my hours a little to accommodate the weekly visit to school, but with Etsy Made Local looming, I didn’t feel it was right to take anything else on.
Unfortunately EML this year left me with an empty feeling. We did a survey, some people still weren’t happy, it’s too cold, the venue isn’t big enough, they didn’t think we should have a stall despite the months of unpaid work it takes to put it on ( yes it’s time to start again next month “IF” we are doing it again this year, boo hoo! ). I was so tired, broken physically and disillusioned, there is no real feeling of pride, just relief it’s all over without much incidence for another year and I can sit and watch a telly programme without having to make endless lists or answer emails at the same time.
This lack of any feeling, apart from the fact that I had wasted a huge chunk of my year, prompted me to fast track my pathways training, get my PVG and do something that really helps me to focus on the positive things I achieve, not let myself be dragged down by the couple of negative comments and the best bit is that I get to help someone else along the way. Being oversensitive is truly one of my worst traits, I don’t take criticism well but hopefully being a mentor will let me see life from another perspective, help myself rise up from the fire, start getting on with things and stop moping about.
A wee bit about MCR pathways
In Glasgow, our most disadvantaged young people are five times more likely to leave school aged 16 or earlier and less than half progress to a job, college or university place. It is a shocking situation but one that we can and will change across the city and across the country. It is no surprise that while care experienced young people have great potential, they struggle to thrive due to instability in their personal lives. They often don’t have positive adult role models to build aspirations or access to social networks that can introduce them to the workplace.
At MCR, we know that there is amazing potential and talent in our young people. Varied, unique and inspiring in every single one. But for many, that potential has yet to be discovered. Life experience has knocked the confidence out of some, firmly locking away those seeds of flair and hope. It is our aim to uncover, nurture, develop and help to realise the skills and capabilities in looked after young people. We know that each person has a specific set of abilities and passions and we want to see them flourish. We support looked after young people practically. Guiding them on pathways to education, employment and fulfilling lives.
I’m so looking forward to starting tomorrow and to meet my child. I know it’s not going to be an easy journey, but it’s something I’m ready for and am excited to take part in. Hopefully it will help me put stuff into perspective and push me into getting on with the challenges of the year ahead.
To find out more about being a mentor yourself visit MCR pathways website here>> MCR mentors come from every walk of life, age group and type of organisation. Over 40% are male helping young people who lack a male role model. There are as many under 35 years of age as over 65, with the majority at the peak of their careers. Every profession and job is represented.