MAPS Mentoring: Aria's Story

From isolation to confidence: how mentoring transformed Aria's life and school attendance.

MAPS Mentoring is an award-winning project providing mentoring and support to young people to help them achieve their full potential through the support of a one-to-one volunteer adult role model.

When referred for mentoring, Aria had very low school attendance and was on a downward trajectory. She wasn't leaving the house, had a very low mood, and was reluctant to engage in conversation with anyone. She was withdrawn, showed no emotions and was unable to discuss her views, wishes, or feelings. She was not engaging in activities with others, felt isolated, and was unable to express her views, wishes, or feelings.

Photos of MAPS Mentee Aria

In the first three months, Aria and her mentor started with small, manageable steps, which made her feel more comfortable leaving the house and exploring her local area. They spent time together drawing and listening to music. Her mentor encouraged her to make suggestions, and Aria gradually began to express preferences for what she wanted to do.

“I don’t go out much, so mentoring is an opportunity to get out. I am more confident to leave the house now. Before, I wouldn’t tell people what I am thinking, but now I say what’s on my mind without worrying.”

By the six-month mark, Aria started to be more vocal about where she wanted to go and what she wanted to achieve. Her mentor encouraged her to work towards these goals. Throughout the year, Aria and her mentor participated in many activities together, including ice skating, visiting the Tate, karaoke, bowling, journaling, trampolining, making bracelets, visiting cafés, going for walks, attending a K-pop event, baking brownies, attending MAPS Socials, going to the library, doing yoga and a pamper sessions doing facemasks.Photos of MAPS Mentee AriaAria highlighted the benefits of going out more and trying new things.

“I liked making brownies and the MAPS Social. It’s a really supportive place to go and chill for an hour.”

By the end of the mentoring year, Aria was able to identify positive changes within herself.

“I am going to school most days, I go out more. I don’t worry so much about what people think. I believe in myself and have learned to express myself.”

Photos of MAPS Mentee Aria

Her mentor added,

“She is more confident to talk and share her thoughts. I am impressed with how well she knows her own mind.”

With the support of a MAPS mentor, Aria found increased positivity in her future. She discovered new ways to live life and is feeling more motivated at school.

“I feel more confident, and the way I present myself is different.”

Could YOU could make a difference to young people in Sutton? Are you interested in volunteering with MAPS Mentoring? Please give us your details here and one of the team will be in touch soon.