“My mentor means a lot to me; I can speak to him about things on my mind, and college. He’s helped me to look at things differently when I would get angry.” Muhammed, aged 15
Muhammed was referred to Aspire by a local authority Families Support team. They were concerned that he demonstrated a number of vulnerabilities that could result in disengagement and negative behaviours. These included being easily led, being picked on at school, lack of confidence and lack of positive male role models. The team believed that an Aspire mentor would be able to build his confidence and enable him to develop positive relationships and friends.
The Safer London Support Worker carried out initial meetings with Muhammed to find out more about him and his needs. This resulted in a positive match with Luke, his volunteer mentor, who works in the Ministry of Justice and also has a Doctorate in Astrophysics.
Since April 2014, Muhammed and Luke have met every two weeks. Initially there were issues around failed meetings and miscommunication, but with support and persistence the mentor managed to gain Muhammed’s commitment and trust. They have explored and set goals for Muhammed and Luke is supporting Muhammed to engage his time positively. They have been doing free running together and Muhammed has also has expressed an interest in boxing classes.
Muhammed has also progressed to studying at FE College, taking courses in English, Maths and motor vehicle mechanics and repair. He has been getting on well in his first weeks. His mentor, Luke, supported him to prepare for this.
Luke has also explored and supported Muhammed to develop more positive networks. Muhammed attended a three-day summer activities camp over the summer. During this he made a family tree where he identified Luke as one of the people with whom he feels closest to.
Muhammed’s mother and the local authority team are very positive about the progress he has made through Aspire, especially in terms of his confidence and self esteem. The matched pair continue to meet regularly and have developed a good rapport and relationship.
“We discussed starting college and spoke a lot about the motor mechanics aspect of his work. I get a sense there has been a substantial shift in his attitude and it’s motivated him starting at college. He has started writing shorter and longer term goals for himself.” Luke, mentor
(Names have been changed to retain confidentiality)