Our Hero of the month for February is Saira Hassan who mentored at Heathfield Primary School in Bolton on the Primary School Mentoring Programme.
Saira studies at the University of Central Lancashire, studying Religion, Culture and Society and also works at a law firm as an Administrative Assistant.
She has been chosen for this award in recognition of her commitment, her hard work, her enthusiasm and her refusal to allow challenging circumstances to get in the way of her delivering the quality of experience that she passionately wanted for her mentees.
How long have you been volunteering as a Mosaic mentor for?
Less than 6 months. Heathfield Primary School was the first school I have mentored in.
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
As Mosaic aims to inspire young people to work hard and achieve their potential, I felt this was exactly what I needed to take part in, in order to further enhance my interest in working with children. I also aim to inspire children; by talking to them and showing them that they can achieve anything as long as they work hard. This mentoring programme allowed me to do all this and more.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a mentor?
At the end of the programme, when the girls I had worked with, thanked me for mentoring them, this was rewarding for me as I felt I had made them realise that they can become whatever they want to, as long as they remember to persevere, work hard and speak up.
What have you learned from your time as a mentor?
I have learned that being patient and listening to young people is probably one of the most important qualities a mentor needs. The young children look up to the mentor as soon as they walk into the room and the children look forward to the next session before the current one is over. This allowed me to learn that as a mentor I am responsible for allowing the children to look at their dreams and think of ways to make these become their realities.
What have you found challenging about mentoring?
Trying to engage those young individuals who do not normally speak up voluntarily in their classroom, was challenging for me. However, throughout the programme, as those individuals began speaking up voluntarily, this showed that they felt comfortable in the sessions.
Secondly, when I was told that I would be the only mentor for this programme I was worried, as this was my first time as a mentor. However, I took my own advice on board and made sure I inspired the girls as much as I could. Furthermore, I did not want to let the mentees down as this could have affected their confidence. My own experience and confidence improved throughout the mentoring programme.
And what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
I am a full time student at the University of Central Lancashire, studying Religion, Culture and Society. I also work at a Law firm as an Admin Assistant.
Would you recommend being a Mosaic mentor to others?
Yes, I have already mentioned Mosaic to my friends.
What makes a good mentor?
A good mentor must be able to listen carefully as well as speak confidently. I also believe a good mentor must show their mentees that they were once young and through working hard they are now pursuing their dreams. Positive thinking and knowing where I want to be in the next 10 years got me through all my GCSE and A-Level exams, I illustrated this to my mentees in order to show that no hurdle is too big for us.
How do you feel about receiving the Hero of the Month Award?
I did not expect to receive this reward; I am extremely happy and honoured. Mosaic mentoring was the perfect volunteering programme I was looking to take part in, and to be given the chance to inspire young children was exactly what I enjoy doing. This reward has allowed me to realise that I am doing well as a mentor, and inspires me to further enhance my experience as a mentor.
If there was only one piece of advice you could give to a young person to achieve success, what would that be?
To always persevere and never let anyone tell you, you can-not do something.