For #VolunteersWeek we want to celebrate all our amazing volunteer mentors. This is one of our amazing mentors, Ha’s story of her mentor journey…
“After moving to London after my graduation, I have always been telling myself that once I have settled down, I would definitely go back with volunteering. And a year passed by and finally I have felt much more settled in London, with my new job and adulthood (perhaps 🙂
It wasn’t easy at first, but I am slowly getting there at the end. I feel really lucky to have all the support from family, friends and work. Everyone has helped to make the transition easier and now that I was ready to start applying for volunteering roles.
After a few days of researching after, I came across @The Kid Network and hit “submit” to my application. And I’ve got it! And a new journey for me and my mentee (or little friend) started from there. Can’t believe that time flies and it has already been nearly half a year since I first met my mentee during the matching event.
I wanted to say thanks so much for everyone in the team for helping me from day one with safeguarding training, checking up and providing me with very useful resources.
One piece of advice from the training that stuck with me until now. During the train we were invited to share what our worries before starting the mentoring journey were and in the sticky notes, I wrote “I’m worried that if I have a not so good day, I won’t be able to bring 100% myself to the session and be able to support my mentee as much as I want”.
And the program manager said “Don’t be too harsh on yourself. By being there listening and spending that one-to-one time with your mentee, you are already supporting them. “And I completely agree!
After meeting up with my mentee almost every weekend over the past six months, I realised how the mentorship is mutual and I have learnt more about myself and embraced the art of “PLAYING” (woohoo 🙌 🙌 🙌) and being in the moment 🧘. And here is the “comprehensive” ish list that is still open to be added:
- Found the “Best cookies in town” 🍪 (as cookies are my mentee’s favourite snack)
- Back on the swing in the playground after how long ago I last got into one 😁 I do appreciate that I can make myself look like a 12/15 years old some of the time.
- Exploring a new part of London 🗺️
- Trying out something new every time (like pineapple 🍍 or bubble tea 🧋 …)
- Hand-made bracelets and giving out to strangers (a staff at a local independent bookstore and a homeless person that my mentee sometimes see in the local area 💛)
- Role-playing where I was a reporter interviewing my mentee, who was a CEO of the charity “Save the homeless people”. 👏 👏 👏 I was really impressed how my mentee, at the age of 9, passionately shared her thoughts and vision of the charity and how it would grow.
- I have learnt that for adults, silence can sometimes feel awkward but with kids, sometimes silence is perfectly fine, we don’t need to talk all the time. It’s good to have some pauses and carry on whenever we’re ready.
- Dancing to a K-pop song in the park like no one is watching 💃 💃 💃
The list goes on… anyway, I am really happy to take part in this journey and contribute some thing to the local community, something to look forward to every weekend!