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In celebration of National Mentoring Day 2019, we wanted to share this blog from Oscar Yong, who works for the ReachOut. 

Volunteering for ReachOut for the last two years as a mentor has been a unique and awesome experience that has positively affected my life. I have seen the constructive impact the charity has on young people and at personal level developed new skills and grown my confidence. 

ReachOut is a mentoring charity who provide disadvantaged young people weekly one-to-one support from a volunteer mentor for at least one school year to help them achieve their potential and go on to lead good, successful and happy lives. Young people are referred to the charity by their schools because they are disengaged or underachieving. ReachOut help them to develop their character, raise aspirations and improve their academic attainment through long-term one to one mentoring.

My experience as a mentor for ReachOut has been really rewarding. Through one-to-one mentoring and focusing on character development with my mentee, we both saw notable change in him. My mentee grew his academic skills and confidence, and unlocked their potential throughout the course of mentoring.  At the beginning of the year, he was unable to answer even one question on the worksheet without asking me to check every answer, a year later, he approaches challenges with more confidence in his ability and tackles his work more independently. Obviously, I was still there for him but by having room and a safe space to learn, it was possible to see such a big and positive change in his attitude. His behaviour has also changed. By focusing on character development, he strengthened his good judgement skills, self-control and staying power as he was able to complete tasks by himself, stopped distracting other students and

It was really rewarding to see these changes and at the same time surprising to observe how much change you can see in a young person in a relatively short amount of time by mentoring them. Being part of this change and helping a young person succeed in whatever they plan to do in their future, setting objectives and guiding them is very rewarding, and I’d encourage anyone who can take part in this opportunity to do so.

Moreover, my mentoring experience has also given me an insight into the education sector; it has really inspired me to get more involved with social youth action projects and to be a more active member of the community.  I want to be part of a community where young people have the chance to succeed in life and elevate towards success. On a more personal level, ReachOut’s character development has helped me to continue inspired by focusing on my staying power. The skills that I have developed through mentoring of communication, teamwork, problem solving and interpersonal are so important, especially with such a competitive job market out there. My experience as a mentor has filled me with a sense of achievement knowing that I am giving back to my community, doing something for the greater good.

Giving back to the community is extremely rewarding and a great way for you to have real impact. I’d recommend everyone to mentor, even if you don’t think you’re an expert or skilled, everyone can learn and grow. It’s a two-way evolution.

About the organisation

ReachOut is a mentoring charity working with young people in disadvantaged areas to raise aspirations and help them grow in character and attainment. 

We improve self-confidence and develop numeracy, literacy and communication skills whilst reinforcing our core values of: Fairness, Self-Control, Good Judgement and Staying Power.

If you are interested in being volunteer and being a mentor for ReachOut, please visit our website (www.reachoutuk.org) to find out more.