Nicole began mentoring with us in 2021. She supported her mentee, Abel, to gain confidence, familiarise himself with London, and build communication skills. They also explored different creative outlets and worked together to find topics and areas that interested Abel, to help him decide on the direction of his future education and career goals.
What do you do for work?
I work in Advertising/ Content Marketing.
What motivated you to become a volunteer mentor at Hope for the Young?
I used to mentor back home in Toronto with Big Brothers Big Sisters where I worked with groups of young girls (ages 10-13) on developing confidence, self-esteem, positive relationships with their body image, and other girls / boys.
When I moved to London I looked for something similar and couldn’t find it. Then while living here the refugee crisis became really big news and something that isn’t as much of an issue back home and I really wanted to find a way to get involved.
Hope for the Young seemed like a perfect combination of my experience in mentoring young people and wanting to help with the refugee crisis.
How has it felt to mentor a young person?
It feels really rewarding knowing that the support given through mentoring is helping someone in their day to day life and that it really does make a difference in the long run. It also feels like a big responsibility because you want to make sure that you’re doing the right thing and giving appropriate guidance.
What have you learned from mentoring a young refugee?
I’ve learned a lot about my mentee’s culture and background which was really interesting. I also learned a lot about taking small steps towards objectives and how trying different creative outlets can create new opportunities.
Do you have a favourite memory from mentoring?
My favourite memory is going to see Abel perform in a play. I felt so proud because he had come such a long way in his self discovery and creative exploration. The confidence he showed on the stage was incredible and it made me realize how worth it all of the time spent together was.
What tips would you give to other volunteer mentors?
I would advise doing a little “field trip” early on to break the ice and find common ground.
Early on in our mentoring I took my mentee to the British museum and we learned so much about each other and how we could communicate together.
Mixing it up and doing different things can be really fun and also help the young person discover new things and explore the city.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Nicole for volunteering as a mentor with us!
Want to support young refugees to settle into life in the UK and achieve their goals? Click the buttons below to become a mentor yourself or donate to help more young people receive mentoring support.