We are delighted to announce Mosaic’s Hero of the Month for June 2015, Nasrin Akhtar.
The award is recognition for Nasrin’s outstanding work over nearly 3 years in Mosaic’s primary school programme.
She has mentored at Arden Primary School and Chilwell Croft Academy.
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
I wanted to make a positive difference and give back to the community because when I was growing up I was given plenty of opportunities. However, there wasn’t anything like Mosaic’s mentoring programmes available so when I heard about it I was very eager to be part of it.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a mentor?
The moments where a very shy/quiet/reserved young girl and mother have gained so much confidence and self-esteem within the 9 week programme that they are able to stand in front of the classroom to talk to the wider group. I have seen this happen at least once on all 7 of the programmes I have volunteered on so far.
What have you learned from your time as a mentor?
That I still have so much more to learn and experience! I hadn’t realised just how strongly committed and passionate I can be about things that matter to me and I truly feel blessed to have been part of so many programmes, to have met so many inspiring students, parents, mentors, and teachers and to have had so many positive experiences.
What have you found challenging about mentoring?
The language barrier when communicating with mothers who do not speak English. Coming from a South Asian background I can understand Urdu and Bengali but speaking either of them fluently is an entirely different matter! However, this challenge never stopped me attempting to translate what was being said (albeit very badly!) but thankfully it was a good thing to bond with the mothers over and it always made them smile.
And what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
I work full-time for Birmingham City University within the Schools and Colleges Liaison team and I also volunteer as a Play Therapist/Programme Facilitator on a child-centred home-schooling programme with young children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Would you recommend being a Mosaic mentor to others?
What makes a good mentor?
Being patient and positive, being able to empathise and understand others and being able to make them feel comfortable and at ease.
How do you feel about receiving the Hero of the Month Award?
Shocked, surprised and honoured! I received the Highly Commended Award in June for the second time running so that was such a shock but to be receiving the Hero of the Month Award on top of that is an even bigger shock! Thank you so much to all of Mosaic’s staff and to all the link teachers who put in so much effort for us mentors – you are all the true heroes!
If there was only one piece of advice you could give to a young person to achieve success, what would that be?
To always believe in yourself even when things are not going the way you wanted because when one door closes another one always opens.