We are delighted to reveal that the Mosaic Hero of the Month for March 2015 is Joey Islam.
A fantastic ambassador for Mosaic in the West Midlands, Joey really shines as a mentor. He has mentored on two Secondary Programmes this academic year, at both Washwood Heath and Kings Heath Boys. He has a very warm personality that makes both mentees and fellow mentors feel comfortable. Joey is often organising mentor get-togethers and is dependable at events too.
Becky Mitchell, West Midlands Regional Manager nominated Joey as she feels he really stands out as an excellent example of a Mosaic mentor. Becky said:
“I witnessed a fantastic session that Joey had planned at Kings Heath Boys when he shared his personal story, including photos, making it more accessible. The session was warm, relaxed and encouraging and Joey picked up issues, such as confidence and behaviour in an encouraging in a sensitive way.”
What programme have you been mentoring on?
Mosaic’s secondary school mentoring programme.
What schools did you mentor in?
Kings Heath Boys School and Washwood Heath Academy.
How long have you been volunteering as a Mosaic mentor for?
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
Looking back to when I was at school, I wish someone had given me some attention/guidance/goals in a safe environment. Mentoring is an opportunity to do exactly that.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a mentor?
Those lightbulb moments when a mentee ‘gets it’ – it being that there is a bigger world beyond school and that they already possess the tools to success, all they have to do is pick them up and use them.
What have you learned from your time as a mentor?
How to be a better listener and to relearn the language of teenagers. I have surprised myself re just how passionate I can be when engrossed in building a newspaper tower.
What have you found challenging about mentoring?
I’ve learned to look at things a little differently – particularly in getting a glimpse into the thoughts and drivers that motivate mentees in years 7-9. I have had to calibrate my expectations and look to provide gentle nudges that just very occasionally generate transformations.
In running sessions the biggest challenge is always ensuring everyone gets to speak – often the most rewarding aspect is getting the more precocious voices to encourage and facilitate the quieter students.
And what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
I am kept busy being a Programme Manager in JLR, I enjoy cycling and karate.
Would you recommend being a Mosaic mentor to others?
Absolutely, the feedback from being open & receptive to discourse and debate with mentees is rapid and rewarding though sometimes a bit merciless. It’s far more rewarding than I anticipated. The high quality framework, training and support provided by Mosaic really works.
What makes a good mentor?
Prepare for the session, listen to what they want, be aware of their circumstances, and above all don’t judge before offering your balanced response/guiding principles.
How do you feel about receiving the Hero of the Month Award?
It’s a lovely recognition and really lifted my spirits, though initially I was rather bemused as I read the email from Nizam as I was wondering what I’d done to deserve it.
If there was only one piece of advice you could give to a young person to achieve success, what would that be?
Two – first think for yourself (nothing is free) and then understand that there are always consequences of choices (you always have a choice) even if the choice is to do nothing.
Any other personal reflections?
I have loved being a mentor on the Mosaic programme. It is both rewarding to me and valuable to the mentees. There are not many other services where ‘little nudges’ have such a visible impact.