I normalised ADHD for one super-active boy.

The Kids Network exists so that all children who need a mentor can have one.

Our volunteer mentors have an amazing impact on the children they work with. In 2023 100% of the children on our programme improved their wellbeing.

Our amazing volunteers were celebrated in the Daily Mail for their amazing achievements and journeys with their mentee. We wanted to continue this celebration by highlighting each of those stories and the words from those volunteer mentors.

Meet Aimee, a programme manager for a charity living in East London.

I’m currently hobbling around after spraining my ankle on a trampoline — just one hazard of mentoring a super-active, super-cool ten-year-old boy… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was my fault for being so madly keen and forgetting I’m almost three times my mentee’s age.

We both have ADHD — I was diagnosed at 22 while studying for my Masters — so I need to keep active.

My mentorship ends next month — I will miss him, and the fun we’ve had, so much. His mum says I’m like family. He plays it cool but she sent me a photo of him waiting by the door for my arrival.

I hope I’ve helped him deal with his ADHD by normalising it. I’ve told him we both use fidget toys and a weighted blanket. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

A big part of the programme is letting the child make decisions. It’s fantastically empowering. So I never tell him he can’t do anything, I just explain the consequences to help him make better decisions.

For example, through the charity, you get £30 a month which you decide how to spend between you, which has helped him understand budgeting.

I’ve introduced him to women’s football, too — he previously only liked watching the men, but we went to an Arsenal vs Chelsea women’s match. He screamed his head off the entire time.

I know he looks up to me. When I bought a pair of Crocs, he turned up with the same shoes three weeks later. I was so touched.

There’s a lot of knife crime where he lives but by just opening up about his fears to me, he has become less anxious.

He used to hate school but now he talks very positively about it.

I hope it’s a tiny bit down to me.

If you are interested in supporting The Kids Network, please head to our donations page or find out how to become a mentor and give your time to be a hero for a little Londoner.


This article was written by Tessa Cunningham and was originally published in the Daily Mail in April 2024.

The photograph is by Lezli+Rose; hair and make up by Amanda Clarke and Amber Sibley at Joy Goodman; styling by Camilla Ridley-Day and Kathryn Winter.

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