Suitable for: Any or All Locations
Estimated costs: Nothing
Suggested frequency: Weekly
Hosted by: XL-Mentoring
XL-Mentoring works with young people referred by local schools, pupil referral units, youth services and the Police. These young people have either been excluded from school or are at risk of being excluded: consequently, they look to anti-social behaviour, criminality and gangs, for a sense of belonging, recreation and 'employment'.
Volunteer mentors meet with a young person for two or three hours every week for at least a year. They also contact and encourage them in-between meetings to help them achieve goals that they set together. Mentors are matched with young people through a mentor co-ordinator who also provides on-going support.
Home visits are made with families to explain the project and gain approval for the young person to participate. A residential weekend of activities for a group of mentors and young people can be used to establish trusted relationships.
Young people benefit from a supportive, stable and nurturing role model relationship with their mentor and are encouraged to:
- Avoid educational failure: stay in (or return to) mainstream school; do their homework and complete their education.
- Develop positive attitudes and behaviours: improve communications and life skills enabling them to relate better to their peers, family and the local community.
- Set fresh goals and work hard to achieve them: having a direction in life; a plan of action; broaden their horizons and aspirations.
- Make wise life choices: choose not to become involved with (or to exit from) gangs, crime and anti-social behaviour.
Often, families of the young people being mentored also benefit from the project, as the mentor frequently becomes involved in helping the family learn how to deal with the challenges and issues they face. Indirect beneficiaries include the positive impact upon teachers, Police and local communities, due to the changes made in lives of these young people. In addition, the local community members who become trained mentors, find themselves better equipped to help their own communities deal with other local issues.
Sarah is a good example of what 'XL-Mentoring' can achieve. At the age of 13, Sarah had experienced bullying for most of her school life. It began due to her being overweight, and has taken its toll over the years resulting in regular non-attendance at school. As a direct result, she was underachieving academically, had very poor self-esteem and became involved in fights when she retaliated against her tormentors.
Sarah's school referred her to XLP's mentoring project. As part of her induction into the project, she attended a residential weekend where she got to meet her mentor, as well as other mentees and mentors. During these few days away from her home and school environment, she made new friends and enjoyed being part of the team-building activities (This was her first time away overnight in London).
She has developed a trusting relationship with her mentor and now confides in her mentor about her struggles and how she feels. When she still finds herself bullied, she is able to share and discuss it with her mentor. The mentor liaises with the school concerning any issues arising that may affect Sarah. So far, Sarah has achieved two of the three goals that she has set herself, with her mentor, and has moved up a set in maths. Her attendance has significantly improved, and she is now reading more at home with her mother.
Sarah has also begun to work towards losing weight. With the support of her mentor, she is now exercising regularly and has learned to eat more healthily. The resulting loss of weight has improved her self-confidence and self-esteem hugely. Sarah has told us that having a mentor has meant that there is someone who she can talk to: someone who encourages, motivates and supports her; someone who understands her and genuinely cares for her wellbeing.
Find out more at http://xlm.org.uk
This idea can be found on page 187 of Hope Heartbeat ©2013 HOPE08 Ltd. For more ideas, Hope Heartbeat is available for purchase from the website above.