Jaz (12), was referred to MAPS Mentoring by children’s services. Living with his Nan and home schooled due to the bullying he had experienced, Jaz feared meeting new people and being in crowded places. He suffered from low moods and was unable to articulate his thoughts and feelings. He felt judged for his sexuality by others and was spending more time alone in his room with his pets. Covid intensified his social isolation and anxiety, he rarely left the house.
At the home visit Jaz expressed a want for change. He wanted a mentor to talk about his hopes and dreams. Someone who would be non-judgemental and understanding of his fears. We cherry picked an experienced mentor who was empathic, non-judgemental and shared Jaz’s love of animals.
Sadly, with the Covid pandemic lockdown restriction still in place Jaz and his mentor were limited to walks, talks and trips to the Grove Park to feed the squirrels and birds. Covid stopped the pair from accessing some activities, but it did not stop them from forming a positive and trusting relationship built on shared interests’ fun and a lot of laughter. Jaz said:
“When I first heard about mentoring, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it, I thought my mentor would be drab and boring! They were nothing like what I imagined. I'm so glad I gave it a go. From the first time we met I got good vibes, I can talk about anything and know they won’t judge me. Every time we go out, I know I will laugh and have fun”.
Jaz's mentor said:
“Mentoring Jaz has been a pleasure; I enjoyed hearing about his hopes and dreams. I have seen many positive changes since we first met. Jaz is more able to talk about feelings, he has started to go out with his family and is looking forward to the future.”
Over the year the pair talked a lot about Jaz's experience of high school. At first, the conversations focused on the negative experiences, with gentle encouragement from the mentor, Jaz soon began reflecting on the positive side of school and is currently looking to go back to mainstream education.
Jaz's Nan said:
“Jaz has benefited from mentoring in so many ways. His confidence and self-esteem have improved, he is less isolated and happier being around people. Before he met with his mentor he wouldn’t leave the house, now he is helping others in the local community gardening and making people smile with colourful crocheted creations."
At the end of his mentoring year, Jaz told us:
“During my mentoring year I have learnt It can be good to meet new people.”
We’re currently recruiting for a new team of volunteer mentors to provide mentoring support to vulnerable children and young people that are experiencing difficulty or challenging life circumstances. 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.