Adam has been a Mosaic mentor since November 2015, where he was involved in the Secondary School Programme at Skinners’ Academy in London, working with a group of twenty 14-16 year old pupils.
Adam said: “So many of the students are growing up in circumstances that I am familiar with. For most of them, I found it was confidence that was lacking, though self-efficacy and communication skills also needed improvement.”
Having left behind a difficult life in the Middle East affected by war in his home country, Adam arrived in England aged 5 and spent the rest of his childhood in London.
He explained: “Growing up in London was a privilege but it was equally difficult. Naturally I fell into the wrong circles and constantly underachieved at school due to naughty behaviour and lack of attention and direction. I know that if I had had a mentor at that age I would have had more purpose at school and certainly would have performed better. That is why I wanted to work with Mosaic and help in whatever way I could.”
Adam admitted that there were initial challenges to overcome that he had not anticipated. He said: “When I first started mentoring I was surprised about how difficult it was to communicate with the children. I could deliver a presentation to 100 people with no problem, but creating a meaningful conversation with the pupils was challenging. I underestimated the art of listening and realised through Mosaic that I was not as good as I thought I was.”
However, the sense of achievement Adam felt as the programme progressed far outweighed the challenges. He said: “The reward really came for me in the final session when I saw six or seven of the regular attending students particularly shine. It was only then that I really saw the fruits of our sessions pay off. They were more confident, they communicated better, presented themselves better and they really surprised me! They surpassed my expectations.”
Adam added: “Kids need encouragement, practical advice and they need to know that they can achieve anything if they apply themselves and work hard, it is never too late. Mentoring is a highly rewarding experience. It may be hard to see the results at first but you will see them by the end.”
Adam said he has also gained an abundance of insight and inspiration from the pupils during the mentoring sessions. He said: “I have learnt how to listen better, how not to judge others so much and how to allow others to express themselves without giving my own opinion all of the time. Young people are very dynamic and it takes special care and attention to help them to flourish. It does not matter who you are, or what you have done and not done in the past. All that matters is what you do today; take the steps you need to take today and tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Mosaic would also like to thank our partners Al Faisal Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for their generous support of the Secondary School mentoring programme.