Mosaic is delighted to announce that Sumi Mistry, Teaching Assistant at St John’s Church of England Primary School in Birmingham scoops the inaugural School Volunteer of the Quarter Award.
Sumi has been leading and co-ordinating the Mosaic Primary School Mentoring Programme at the school for the past 3 years.
When West Midlands Regional Manager Annalisa Lockett asked for support with the nomination, school staff, mentors, mums and girls replied enthusiastically and in great abundance!
What Sumi’s colleagues said
Sarah Smith, Head Teacher at St John’s was the first to reply and enthused:
“Thanks to Sumi’s willingness to give of her time and energy we have been able to run the Mothers and Daughters programme for the last 3 years. Sumi has developed in her confidence to take over the running of the programme, and is really committed in the belief that Mothers can be the key to unlocking the potential of their daughters, particularly mothers in the Asian community.
“Without Sumi being willing to take on this lead role, sadly we would have struggled to deliver the programme this last year. She agreed to do it because she could see the difference it would make to the children. Sumi has grown hugely in confidence and naturally takes the lead and is confident to encourage parents to participate and join in in the sessions. She also looks for opportunities to further develop the girls and mums beyond the course itself.
“We think she is a hero. She puts her own lack of self believe and nerves to one side and put the children’s needs first. She is always professional in her approach and really wants the best for the girls!”
Complementing Sarah’s thoughts Kate Lyne, Assistant Head Teacher added:
“Over the past 3 years, Sumi has taken more and more responsibility for organising and delivering the mothers and daughters sessions in school. She spends her own time going through plans and thinking of ways to engage and challenge the participants.
“The feedback from mothers and girls has been immensely positive and this year the group even organised a surprise card and gift for Sumi. I have really appreciated her enthusiasm and how she has developed and sustained relationships with both girls and their mums.”
What the mums and other mentors said
During the last three years, Sumi had led a number of mentors, including previous Hero of the Month winner Susan Noori who said:
“It has been a great pleasure for me working with Sumi for two consecutive terms. Sumi is a dedicated professional who knows how to break through the obstacles to get things done.
“She would always go the extra mile with her creative ideas and passion to deliver a unique and pleasant session making sure mothers and girls leave happy and motivated. Sumi is an inspiration for not only mothers and girls but us as mentors.”
Fellow mentor and new comer to Mosaic Safeena Rahman added:
“Sumi is a wonderful session leader who has worked extremely hard to make Mosaic work at St John’s School. From the outset, it was clear to me that she wanted the absolute best for the girls and mums and never gave up trying to achieve this.
“I have seen Sumi overcome some very challenging situations involving reluctant mentees, working with them to build their participation and confidence and transforming them into confident, ambitious individuals (mums and daughters alike!).
“Sumi delivered the sessions in a way which always engaged her audience yet was always looking for ways to improve. She always spent time with mentors after the sessions to discuss how the sessions went, share concerns and plan how things could be made better for future sessions.
“Sumi has a very caring nature which the girls, mums and mentors really took to. Sumi has helped me develop my skills through demonstrating leadership, communication and team working skills. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Sumi.”
Participating Mum Shane Kaur, who took part in the programme with her daughter said:
“I found the mothers and daughters mentoring really beneficial in understanding my daughter. Sumi really helped by sharing her views and helping us to understand others. She made it a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and made it comfortable for us to talk to each other whatever our backgrounds.”
Student Umara said:
“Mrs Mistry really helped me feel more brave and confident speaking in front of people”, whilst fellow student Humayra added “Mrs Mistry listened carefully to our ideas and encouraged us to take part.”
In summarising the nomination West Midlands Regional Manager Annalisa Lockett concludes:
“I am overjoyed that Sumi’s dedication, energy and drive have been formally recognised. Her winning the first of these new awards is in celebration of her continued support, dedication and commitment not only to the mentoring programme but to Mosaic as a whole.
“On top of the usual requests I make of schools who are participating in our programmes I know I can ask and relay on Sumi to go the extra mile, from finding girls and mums willing to speak about their experiences in our events to getting quotes from participants for news stories and the like.
“Sumi is an inspiration role model, beneath the quiet exterior there is tremendous strength, integrity and drive and I very much look forward to many more years of working in partnership with her.”
We asked Sumi a few questions about her mentoring experiences:
How long have you been leading the primary mentoring programme at your school?
What motivated you to take on this additional role and responsibility?
I saw the benefits it would have on both mothers and daughters, both now and in the future.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a session leader
I carried out an interactive session with the mothers on the Education System. ‘What skills do children learn in nursery?’ I took some large lego bricks, paints and paper for them to draw a picture. The mums loved it!! They enjoyed making houses with the bricks and painting pretty pictures. It was a great session. Not only could they tell me what skills children learnt, but it got the mothers interacting with each other.
What have you found challenging about the programme?
I found communicating difficult with the mothers as I did not speak the language of most of the mums. However, I did have great mentors who supported me in the sessions.
And what do you do when you’re not running the primary programme?
I work as a Teaching Assistant in Year 6.
Would you recommend the primary programme to others?
Yes. It is hard work but very rewarding!!
What makes a good session leader?
Some who is enthusiastic, motivated and willing to make the sessions fun and interactive.