Many of you reading this will be able to look back on your own childhood perhaps fondly remembering the things you learned as you were growing up from your parents, grandparents, teachers or others with whom you came into contact with – sometimes it might have been some useful knowledge that was passed on to you or, more importantly, maybe you benefited from a stable upbringing in a warm, loving environment in which you were able, as a child, to get to appreciate what was right or wrong in life and also within your own behaviour and attitudes and to establish a set of ‘values’ which you’ve maintained throughout your adulthood.
You’ll also have developed a solid foundation upon which to build relationships with your peers and with others which will have been carried on through into adulthood. There is no doubt that the world would be a happier, safer and much better place were we all able to have a similar experience. However, for many children, this simply isn’t the case. Whether it’s due to neglect, abuse, social deprivation, being orphaned, being abandoned or for any other reason, some children do not experience anything like this form of upbringing which is where becoming a child mentor can play an extremely important part in re-establishing a child’s place in the world and gives them a sense of self-worth, confidence and identity.
There are several organisations which specialise in early intervention and aim to assist primary school children so that they are not at risk of social exclusion and behavioural problems later in life. Ultimately, the role of a child mentor is intended to achieve lasting change in the life of a child by encouraging and nurturing the development of important life skills.
What Type Of Children Do These Organisations Work With?
The type of children you may get to work with as a child mentor will vary tremendously as they’ll all have their own unique backgrounds, personalities and issues but the one thing they’ll all have in common is that they will all feel vulnerable in some way or other. They may have suffered from family neglect, instability at home or lack of adult supervision and may experience problems ranging from poor social skills, difficulty in forming healthy peer relationships, bad conduct, hyperactivity, poor concentration etc. Usually, they will have come to the attention of the organisation as a result of being contacted by a child’s primary school.
How Might I Get Involved And Do I Have The Right Skills?
You would need to complete the relevant application forms along with police check forms and supply details of two character references after which the organisation would supply you with details of the next available training dates. It’s not necessary to have particular skills but more a case of your personal qualities and values that they’re looking for along with your commitment and enthusiasm. The type of qualities you’d need would include a friendly approach and an ability to relate to people especially children, a sensitive tactful manner, enthusiasm, a sense of responsibility, good listening skills, common sense in abundance, a sense of humour, consistency, self-motivation and a commitment to see things through.
What Might The Work Involve?
You’d become the child’s confidante and able to listen to their concerns and problems. You’d want to gain the trust and respect of the child so that they will value your opinions when it comes to you trying to get them to understand the consequences of their actions and choices. You’d also want them to discuss their own goals and to come up with ways in which they might be achieved and to encourage them to develop their own social skills. You would be involved in sharing positive experiences with them and to encourage them when they do particularly well to reinforce the progression they have made. You’d discuss their progress with the child him/herself whilst you are mentoring them and both with your supervisor and, where appropriate, with the child’s parents through building up a relationship with them also and you would be expected to plan and record each session you spend with the child and to be able to report and give feedback on their progress. You’d also be responsible for the child’s safety at all times whenever they are in your care. Being able to offer a couple of hours a week, every week is crucial in this type of role. It is not for the faint-hearted and for those who may not be able to meet with the child on a regular basis as this could be very detrimental to the child’s progress as they will have put a lot of trust and faith in you.
Becoming a child mentor can seem quite daunting if you’ve never thought about it previously. And, whilst the prospect can seem very challenging, most mentors are simply ordinary people carrying out an extraordinary role so you should not be put off by thinking it would be beyond you, as the likelihood is that if it’s something you find very appealing, you would probably be very good at it given adequate support and training.
There are other more informal ways you can become a voluntary child mentor. For teenagers, for example, why not contact your local youth club or community centre to see if there are any opportunities to work with teenagers within your local community as this is another area where you can make a real difference. You’ll not only be helping someone to steer a more productive path for themselves through life, you’ll feel very appreciated and rewarded to and it will be an experience you’ll never forget and you’ll probably also end up with a friend for life.
I would like to get involved in volunteer work with children. I'm a nanny and have many years experience working with children.
I study life coaching and nutrition and believe I have a lot to offer for the youth of today. I am passionate about child development, positive encouragement and showing children the skills/techniques to have the best life they can have.
Jaz - 18-Mar-17 @ 5:48 PM
I am looking foreward to working with children!My goal is to open up a school for mentoring children in the memory of my cousin Emma Lou!
Mandisa - 30-Jan-17 @ 8:44 PM
Danny - Your Question:
Hi I am a black mixed race male who would like to enquire about getting involved as a child mentor. I am married with a son who is twelve and work full time as an electrician but would like to know if this is possible without experience. And would like to help
I am a black mixed race male who would like to enquire about getting involved as a child mentor. I am married with a son who is twelve and work full time as an electrician but would like to know if this is possible without experience. And would like to help
Danny - 23-Nov-16 @ 11:59 PM
Hi I am based in Reading and would like to volunteer/help struggling kids (who can't afford tutors) with school work or others. I'm French and a chemist so could help out in these 2 areas. Any info would be welcome. Many thanks.
Bene - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:00 PM
I currently volunteer for a local charity that educates excluded children. We are their last resort!I previously trained as a mentor to children coming out of care. Then they went into supportedlodgings at 16!Our training was paid for by the Princes Trust. I trained at the Family Centre of Hants Social Services in Alton. We all loved mentoring but we were disbanded by the Labour Party who put the responsibility for mentoring into the hands of private companies and the children's peer groups within school. I would very much like to return to mentoring vulnerable children in or leaving care. However I love my work with excluded children so would run the two side by side. Fran.
Fran - 10-Aug-16 @ 9:29 AM
I am currently enrolled on a social science uni degree to start this September. I would really like to work with young children mentoring them helping and guiding them. To be able to listen to them and advise them.
Em - 24-May-16 @ 10:24 PM
I became a volunteer 'big brother' with BB&S-UK twelve years ago but the organisation folded, in my area at least, due to lack of funding about four years in. I kept up the role though and my mentee is like a son to me. He's twenty now and doing great. It's a friendship I hope will last for life, but now he's grown up I'd like to do the same again for another kid. Are you able to point me towards a similar organisation that might be interested? Grateful, James
James - 12-Mar-16 @ 9:05 AM
I am interested in becoming a, child mentor how do i go about this. Currently doing a, degree, in social science.In my 2nd year. But want to further, my career after the degree and, do social work. But would like some, opportunities to gain some, experience working with, children.
Sarah - 1-Mar-16 @ 12:41 PM
I forgot to add we live in the west midlands just outside coventry
lioness - 18-Jan-16 @ 5:33 PM
I'm hoping to find a black/mixed race male mentor for my 9 year old mixed race son.his own father was violent so not a safe role model and he's grown up without a positive black male influence in his life.this breaks my heart and I'd do anything to rectify this and give my child a greater feeling of self worth/confidence.if anyone knows where I can find a mentor program or start the ball rolling please advise I'd be so grateful
lioness - 18-Jan-16 @ 5:32 PM
Interested in becoming a young persons mentor.currently studying level 2 T.A comecing March 2016.
Please can you help.
Bo - 23-Dec-15 @ 9:09 PM
I grew up in care and would like to help children who have no one and be friend when then need, I got into trouble with the police when I was younger I was 18 I'm now44 and have stayed out of trouble... Is irlt possible to still volunteer
Jay - 16-Nov-15 @ 11:11 PM
I am interested as volunteering as a Child mentor. Are there any organisations in West Sussex, Surrey orHants? ...I live on the borders of all three.
Smithy - 11-Nov-15 @ 6:51 PM
I am in Birmingham...interested in helping young kid's.
Soff - 1-Nov-15 @ 10:24 PM
Am in my final year of stuudying youth and community work, and am looking work experience and would like to volunteer. I have worked in partnership with young people in empower and support them to achieve their full potential in an holistic environment. Also engaging young people in an educational process that engages with them in a curriculum built from their lived experience and their personal beliefs and aspirations. Thereby enable and empowering and encouraging them to voice their opinions and influence the community in which they live in.
Hetty - 30-Oct-15 @ 9:31 PM
Hi I would like to worth with children from age11-19 with behavioural problems or with young offenders/ probation how do I go about volunteering or where do I go to do this? Thanks
Tee - 28-Sep-15 @ 11:11 PM
Hi I would like to be a mentor for children in the Cheshire/Manchester area. Please can you let me know who to contact?
rina - 29-Aug-15 @ 9:40 PM
can you point me in right direction for Waltham Forest areas. In particular Walthamstow? Thanks
QueenKayani - 2-Aug-15 @ 11:53 PM
i would like to become a mentor in the Bloxwich area. I have NVQ Level 3, Children and Young People's Workforce.
Sarah - 27-Jul-15 @ 8:26 PM
Hi, I am very interested in becominga child mentor and would like to do this as a paid job. I live in Enfield area and already work in a school. Please can you advise where to start.
Thank you. Nicole.
I am looking for child mentoring opportunities in the Norfolk/ Suffolk / Cambridgeshire area. Please could you let me know if you know of any organisations in this area.
Jeremy - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:37 AM
@Shane. An internet search should bring you results for the Walsall area. Here are some contacts that we already have for the Birmingham area: Birmingham Youth Offending Team 0121 464 0600 or Email:Andrew.Blyth@birmingham.gov.uk Sandwell Youth Offending volunteer opportunities Sova Youth Volunteer Dudley - Sova is a charity working to help people steer clear of crime. Volunteer Mentors - opportunties for volunteers for mentors to help young people build crime-free lives - search for your area.
VoluntaryWorker - 19-Mar-15 @ 10:23 AM
Hi, I am looking into doing voluntary work as a child mentor or youth offending worker in the walsall area to gain work experience to assist my health and social care studies, can you give my an idea of who is best to contact. Thanks
Shane - 16-Mar-15 @ 9:40 PM
@Em. Here's a couple of places worth trying: SOVA - a charity working to help people steer clear of crime BVCS Birmingham Voluntary Services Council looking for school mentors.
VoluntaryWorker - 9-Feb-15 @ 12:13 PM
I am interested in becoming a child mentor in the Walsall / Birmingham area can you advise please?
Em - 4-Feb-15 @ 2:10 PM
@Lucy. To volunteer, try getting in touch with your local education authority. They will tell you what you need to do and whether you're suitable. To do this as a paid role, take a look at the National Careers Service advice here.