Our MAPS Mentoring project supports many care leavers with one-to-one mentoring. To mark National Care Leavers Week 2022, we wanted to share the story of Dillon, a 21-year-old care leaver, and his experience of mentoring.
Having been in care most of his life and soon to be leaving the care system, no longer in education and not in work, Dillon was referred to MAPS Mentoring at a transformative time. He said “I don’t really know who I am. I put other people before myself.” Dillon needed help finding meaningful direction in his life.
After being carefully matched with his mentor Su, Dillon found regular meet ups to walk and talk a huge release and a space to explore his desires and needs outside of his usual circle.
Dillon admitted “I find it hard to make decisions for myself and I also struggle with social anxiety.”
Dillon and Su met regularly throughout the year sometimes for a walk or for coffee and a chat at a favourite coffee shop. Dillon said “We are quite different, but we get on. I like talking to her.” Su said, “We have good chats about life and Dillon reflects on these chats between meetings and is starting to make changes for himself.”
After just 4 months of mentoring, Dillon was proud to tell his Mentor that he had got a job which he had researched and applied for independently. During the mentoring year, Dillon also got his first flat. Su was able to support Dillon with the challenges and responsibilities of living independently.
At the end of the mentoring year Dillon said, “I took on a job out of my comfort zone. It’s tiring but people like me and I am appreciated.” When we said goodbye to Dillon, he was due to start training for a managerial role, oozing with pride that his abilities were being recognized and appreciated.
Moving into his flat was a slow process with many practical and emotional hiccups along the way. However, Dillon had his Mentor alongside him to bounce ideas off and to talk through his frustrations and his preparations. They went ‘flat’ shopping together and he started to discover his preferences and likes. His Mentor watched him grow in confidence, become more open and less anxious.
When we all said goodbye at the end of the mentoring year, Dillon’s Mentor said she now sees a young man who thinks more about himself, is seeing opportunities for himself and is becoming more excited by these.
Dillon said he is really proud of what he has achieved.
If you are 18 or over and would like to find out more about becoming a MAPS mentor please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.