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M's story

M was first referred for mentoring in primary school. He would talk about feeling sad, depressed and angry, and didn’t feel he could control these emotions. He had difficulties making friends and needed a lot of adult reassurance.

M had experienced a family split and relationships could be inconsistent. The family found it hard to connect to appropriate support services and extra-curricular activities for M. His school hoped that mentoring could help him feel positive about his own identity, gain new interests and develop skills to deal with conflict and process worries.

M told us that he enjoyed sport, gaming, going to the park and art. He said it would be really nice if we got him a mentor “with cool, blue hair”! He hoped that the mentoring could help him feel safe and happy, not so aggressive and “more like a normal child”.

We matched M with mentor A, a strong female role model. She had plenty of energy to match M, and experience with health and mindfulness to make the mentoring calm and safe – despite not having blue hair.

Initial sessions stayed in school, playing games and exploring what M enjoyed and was good at. They talked about their shared love of music and planned a visit to Riverside where M could record his music in our studio, and she helped him connect to a local sports club.

M enjoyed coming along to our group activities including a forest school activity, a sports taster day, and a technology workshop. He enjoyed a drama activity week so much that we supported M with an application and bursary to join a youth theatre club.

His mentor reported he was becoming increasingly happy to talk about life and his needs and aspirations, and school reported big improvements in engagement, confidence and independence.

M told us: “I’ve got smarter. I’m having fun. I get to do all the stuff that I wouldn’t get to do at home – it makes me feel fun. I do good in school. I’m more enthusiastic with my work and my life. I talk to more people.”

At the end of the mentoring year M’s parent told us: “Once again thanks for all the effort you made to help M, it really shows in his progress.”