The Reciprocity of Mentoring

“For me a lot has changed. Life isn’t about you, it’s about who you impact along the way. So doing this with her, she is growing, I am growing, we are both growing together.”

This mentor reflects on a common theme that drives the positive impact of mentoring through The Kids Network: reciprocity. The mentor supports the child, and this is at the center of The Kids Network’s model, but, in spending a year with their mentee, the mentor learns, grows and develops too. The Kids Network’s mentoring structure fosters not only the child’s socio-emotional development, but also the mentor’s.

“…this process is quite enlightening in that I am learning so much about myself. I think it’s knowing you are making a difference to someone and showing them they are making lots of decisions about their life and that there are other possibilities…” Mentor, Brent

Connecting two people, a mentor and a mentee, who might otherwise never cross paths, is at the core of what we do at The Kids Network.  In the wake of the global pandemic, the problems kids were already facing were exacerbated. Adults were obviously not unscathed either. By joining together, becoming inspired and inspiring children in return, there is a light that helps the local London community move forward into a more secure, joyful future.

Over the course of the year-long mentoring programme, the mentor and the child help each other develop increased wellbeing, emotional skill sets, and new found confidence for the future. Children and mentors are able to translate and incorporate the lessons they learn from each other into their lives outside of mentoring sessions. This is not just theory, its fact. From our reports from previous mentors, 89% noticed an increase in their own wellbeing, 78% of them reported seeing an improvement in their communication skills, and 68% said they felt more resilient. One mentor from Brent sends this message,  

“Selfishly, I’ve really seen an improvement in my own well-being and contentment volunteering with TKN. Thank you!” Mentor, Hackney

Throughout the year of mentoring, all of these directions of growth are possible – especially because The Kids Network will offer support to the mentor and mentee throughout, providing, as one mentor put it “first class support”. In fact, 98% of mentors surveyed in 2022 feel satisfied with the support they receive from The Kids Network.

“My experience with The Kids Network has been amazing and you are so helpful, empathic, and easy to reach for support. I always feel better about life when I talk to you.” Mentor, Hammersmith and Fulham

This impact could not be achieved without one of our core success factors: FUN!  Mentors and mentees bring each other weekly light hearted fun, providing the children access to the childhoods they deserve, while reminding mentors to enjoy what London has to offer. It’s a two way street.  

“The weekly meetings with my mentee are a lovely break, forcing me to step away from work and go and have fun in the local community.” Mentor, South London

It is clear to us at The Kids Network that the benefits of mentoring go both ways, but maybe you don’t see that YOU could be a benefactor. You might not view yourself as a “hero” just yet, or maybe you have a different image than yourself of what a mentor should be. But consider these stats, 97% of mentors said that mentoring has increased their belief that they could make a positive change in society and 93% say TKN made them consider new ways of thinking. Your potential for self-growth through mentoring might be unrealised to you now, but after spending just a few sessions with your mentee we believe you will recognise its fullness.

Our key values at The Kids Network are connection, fun, diversity, curiosity, and integrity. If you share these key values and want to incorporate them more firmly into your routine in a meaningful way, then consider becoming a mentor.

We are on a mission to recruit volunteer mentors to match with as many children as we can in Lambeth, Southwark, Brent, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden, Islington, and Lewisham. If you are in the area and interested, please apply today!


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