My mentee inspired me to be a foster mother

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

In 2023, 100% of children who took part in our mentoring programme reported that enjoyed spending time with their mentor. We could never make the impact we make without the time, dedication and curiosity of our volunteer mentors.

Our brilliant 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 Elsie, 56, a property investor and developer living in North London.

“Mentoring for The Kids Network has honestly changed my life. I don’t have my own children and I went from feeling like I didn’t know much about kids, to enjoying the experience so much I have now trained to become a foster mother and have already cared for several teenagers.

Growing up as the youngest of four with a single mum, I would have benefitted massively from having a mentor. Mum held down a string of jobs and encouraged us to succeed academically, but making it to university and then getting a job with a top accountancy firm was tough.

I hope I’ve given my Little Londoner the confidence to set her goals high. She was ten when we met in December 2021. I was told that her mum, too, was a single parent and that she would benefit from another adult’s undivided attention. Knowing someone outside your family cares for you is hugely empowering. She particularly feared secondary school in case she was bullied.

I quickly realised all I had to do was listen. I took her ice-skating and videoed her so she could see how much she was improving.

We went to museums and art galleries because I wanted to broaden her horizons.

I can be quite jokey and sarcastic and, by the end, she was teasing me, which showed how comfortable she had become. I was thrilled when she moved on to secondary school seamlessly. Her one complaint was the amount of homework!”

Thank you Elsie.

If you are interested in supporting The Kids Network, please head to our donations page to donate or to our become a mentor page if you are interested in becoming a hero for a little Londoner.


This article was written by Tessa Cunningham and was originally published in the Daily Mail in April 2003 (link).

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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