Our latest Hero of the Month is mentor Shakeel Nazir, who volunteers at Belle Vue Girls’ School in Bradford. Shakeel – who works for international law firm DLA Piper – was chosen for his outstanding contribution as lead mentor, his great rapport-building skills with the young people, and his fun, ‘can do’ attitude. Thank you Shakeel!
We interviewed Shakeel to find out all about his mentoring experiences:
How long have you been volunteering as a Mosaic mentor for?
This is my 2nd year mentoring at Belle Vue Girls. I decided to carry on at the same school as the first was so enjoyable and rewarding alongside having the support of the teachers there made the decision a very easy one.
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
I wanted to give something back to the community. I come from the area and know the difficulties these students face coming from a relatively deprived area. I wanted to become a role model and help them realise their potential.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a mentor.
I would say the feedback we have received from the students of last year. To hear them say we have inspired them, helped increase their confidence and realise they have the potential to achieve their ambitions. To know the work and time we put in over the year was all worthwhile.
What have you found challenging about mentoring?
Some of the students were pretty shy and retiring to begin but over the year we helped bring them out of their shells. It was hard work with some of them as they required more personal attention but it’s amazing to see the difference a year and a number of sessions made for them. I felt a sense of personal achievement knowing I contributed to that.
And what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
My day job entails working within an IT department for an international law firm. In my spare time I enjoy playing/watching football and doing thai boxing when I can. I have recently taken up jogging which helps clear the mind…it’s actually not tedious and boring as it used to appear to me from an outsider prospective!
Would you recommend being a Mosaic mentor to others?
Absolutely, I think if you can spare the time, sign up immediately, it’s such a rewarding, inspiring experience and you definitely won’t be disappointed.
What makes a good mentor?
Someone who is enthusiastic, positive and genuinely wants to give something back to the community. Being a mentor means supporting and encouraging youngsters to believe they can achieve their maximum potential. Best of all you have fun doing it!