Renfrewshire Council

Child and Gran at St Catherine's Early Learning and Childcare Class

Aberlour Attain volunteer mentor, Ross: volunteering can make an immeasurable difference to a child's life

Ross shares his story about becoming a volunteer mentor with his local branch of Aberlour Attain.

I became a volunteer mentor with Aberlour Attain - Renfrewshire in February 2019. I was looking for a volunteering role in an organisation that worked with children and young people as I wanted to further increase my life experiences, bolster my CV for greater career prospects and give back to the community I live in. When I came across the role with Aberlour I knew this would be the perfect opportunity.

I enquired about the role by contacting one of the mentoring coordinators. He gave me some more information and organised a meet up for an informal chat and to iron out more details about this fantastic opportunity. He was extremely friendly and really welcoming. This made me feel even more excited about taking on the mentoring role.

Training

We soon got into training and I got to meet my fellow mentors. Despite a lot of information being put forward it never felt as if it was overwhelming. There are six compulsory training sessions, as well a couple of online modules to complete and, of course, further optional training that's available. The team that organised the training were great and really took time and effort to make sure we were equipped and ready to carry out the role.

Highlights

I have had many highlights with Aberlour already: meeting the coordinators; meeting my mentee; and the training itself. The biggest highlight happened fairly recently when my mentee had a number of difficult issues to deal with at school but in our most recent meeting, he told me things were improving and he was just trying to get his head down and make better choices.

He also mentioned that he had a really great time hanging out with me. We then proceeded to make a lot of plans for the weeks ahead, so we have plenty activities to look forward to. This was a real positive moment for me: it makes me feel that I am starting to make somewhat of a difference.

Not every meeting has gone so smoothly. My mentee mentioned to me recently that school had become problematic again. We spoke about everything that happened that week and how he could work on turning this around. My mentee has shown some great progress, so I do hope we can keep going in this positive upwards trajectory. I have spoken with my coordinator about this and they have given me some techniques and some great advice on how to combat days like that.

The difference you can make is immeasurable

My advice to someone that was thinking about applying for the role:

  • there is a great support network at Aberlour;
  • you would be really looked after in the role; and
  • if you have a spare couple of hours a week it would definitely be worth your time.

It can be fun and really enjoyable but there are some tougher days. The good days outnumber the bad and if you have the drive and the enthusiasm to help a young person then I think there is a real chance for you to gain incredible benefits for yourself, and of course the difference you could potentially make to a young person's life would be immeasurable.

The impact on a mentee

"Meeting Ross has been helpful and has helped me get on better at school."

Pupil

 

More about Ross and Aberlour Attain

Ross lives in Paisley and is a mentor to a young people within Renfrewshire. To find out about volunteering opportunities, email volunteering@aberlour.org.uk or call 0141 260 9180.

 

Published on Monday 16 September 2019.

Pictured: Child and Gran at St Catherine's Early Learning and Childcare Class.

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