Mentors have to care!

Over the last twenty years, I have seen the ongoing professionalisation of youth workers leave a tight grip around emotional attachment in mentoring – and while stricter guidelines are undoubtedly necessary for child protection, I have always stood firm in my belief that caring is absolutely essential for effective youth work. Mentors have to care. I can train mentors in health & safety and I can educate them in our company values, but I can’t teach compassion.  When recruiting new mentors, a caring heart and a vision for young people is my number one priority – everything else comes later.…

Reaching isolated young people; growing leaders

I don’t know if it was a sense of loyalty, or ownership – but I remember being keen to stay in the youth group I was involved in as a teenager. While my friends were leaving the club, heading up to join an older group, I stayed behind, eager to help out in any way I could. As I became part of the furniture, I found more and more opportunities to come alongside younger members– much in the same way as others had supported me when I first joined. This growing responsibility brought with it a passion for developing these…

Three ingredients to building character in young people

1. CARE Really caring and having a heart towards young people is absolutely critical if you’re to make a difference and impact their lives. It may sound obvious but it’s difficult to care for someone that you don’t know. But when you have it, care drives and motivates you. It means you don’t just walk away from a conversation and leave it there, but you continue to think about how you might advise them, what you might say to them when you see them later that week. You continue to mull the conversation over in your mind. How can you…

Lifeline Graduation 2016

On Friday the 8th of July, LifeLine held a graduation event for its class of 2016. This celebration featured a range of guest speakers and presentations, concluding the evening with the awarding of certificates to graduating students. Family and friends who attended the event were able to see some of what students had accomplished over the year and what makes LifeLine what it is. LifeLine students from previous years were invited to speak to the graduating class and offer some advice regarding the next step after finishing their Secondary education. More speakers were present to inspire and advise the students…

Quietly Determined

In truth, I was a little sceptical when my new mentee announced that he wanted to be a Premiership footballer. This was a prime motivator in his coming to the UK to study, but I had previously tried to support a student who was football-mad and it hadn’t gone well. This new student seemed different. I was impressed that, after just five weeks in the UK, he had booked himself in for a West Ham trial, and joined a soccer club and a gym. He seemed quite determined. And a quiet determination has been a characteristic of our mentoring. Most weeks,…

Making a Difference

Mentoring programmes, I hear, are quite common. The mentoring programme at Lifeline was my first experience with one, however, and naturally I was a little sceptical of the idea. Being quite a private individual with a knack for anxiety and, well, you know, a teenager, I was reluctant to—as I imagined at the time—spill my life story to some stranger and have them tell me exactly what I was doing wrong. Especially, as we all know, absolutely everything a 16-year-old does is right and should not be contested. The thought of someone intruding in my life made me dismissive toward…