Josie is a female student from a local high school who had a lot of insecurities when she started the ROC Champions peer mentoring scheme. Background information had been given from the school that she had some problems at home and was experiencing unstable family relationships. The school also advised that she was acting as a carer for her brothers and sisters, whilst only being 13 years old. There was only one parent at home, her Mum, and she had 4 other siblings living there. As Josie was the eldest, she wasn’t getting any quality time or attention she needed from her Mum.
As part of the scheme, Josie was matched up with a mentor. Although this wasn’t someone whom she had been particularly friendly with, her mentor was mature and organised and it was thought she would help bring out the best in Josie. During the Art session one morning, Josie’s mentor asked to talk to one of the programme leaders outside. She was really worried and concerned as Josie was carrying a knife because she was intending to self-harm. Her mentor said she had remembered what she learnt from the safeguarding training, that they should tell a course leader or teacher about anything that would put their peer buddies at risk or in danger. However, although she knew this was the right thing to do, she was anxious her mentee would be upset with her for sharing private information. She was reassured that she had done the right thing. The knife was taken from Josie and things were talked through with the Pastoral Lead at the school. Josie’s Mum was put in the picture and by the next week, Josie was much more settled in the workshop. By the end of the course, her confidence had grown so much that she was brave enough to sing a solo. Josie commented in her feedback that she now feels closer to her Mum again as they’ve agreed to have a regular meeting each week on a ‘set’ day for 2 hours. During this time, they talk, get to know each other better, or just relax together.
It’s fantastic that this programme has had wider benefits beyond mentoring. For this particular girl, it has influenced her home life and brought much needed reconciliation with her Mum.