Cathy is a Youth Mentor with Le Chéile who provide a mentoring service to young people involved with Young Person’s Probation. Mentors act as a positive role model, advisor and friend. They work with a young person for 3 hours a week for up to 2 years.
I found out about Le Chéile from a volunteering website a few years ago. Volunteering with LChéile is a very uplifting and fulfilling experience. I’ve made many a friend through the volunteering and enjoy all the new activities and skills I learn. They’re skills I can use in everyday life. I’ve found it’s helped me grow as a person.
There are many challenges but I think a big one for mentoring is not to get too attached. You have to make sure the boundaries are in place at all times. Also, seeing so much potential in a young person that they can not see in themselves can be hard, but with time this can be worked on.
For anybody starting a new match, I would advise them to be patient. It can be hard starting off but the young person is in the same position. Be yourself and enjoy the experience. Share your experience with the rest of the group in supervision. It’s amazing the little tips you can get from others which work with your mentee. It’s important to enjoy the mentoring experience and I believe that even small changes can have a huge impact on the mentee’s life. If you fail, try, try, try again – it’s worth it in the end.
There are many high points, but for me one of the biggest is seeing my young person’s confidence grow and seeing her mature into a fantastic young adult and complete her Junior Cert.