My name is Nazia Zareef, I am a full time mum of teenage children and a mentor on the Mosaic Secondary School Programme in Glasgow. I have a BA in Sociology and Politics and have experience volunteering for various children’s charities.
Last year was the first time Mosaic was run in Scotland, so it sounded like a great opportunity to put my skills into operation. My first year mentoring with Mosaic was busy but very well enjoyed. I mentored at two secondary schools, where I used a variety of exercises with the groups of other volunteer mentors I was involved with. The sessions themselves last for about 1 hour and focus on a range of activities including CV writing and role playing, working to develop the young people’s employability skills and confidence. As different sessions are prepared for each month, the students are always engaged with a real willingness to learn.
At the start of the programme I was a bit apprehensive as to whether the sessions would work and if it would be useful to the children. But I very quickly realised just how much of an impact the sessions had on the children in a positive way. This alone gave me more confidence and the feeling of being appreciated.
It was amazing to see students who were not particularly confident to start with progress to develop brilliant presenting skills with clear voices and confidence. At the end of the year, the student’s feedback was very positive, stating how much they enjoyed themselves and how they felt it was useful for them. It was then I realised how much of a difference my contribution as a mentor actually made. I am looking forward to the next sessions and mentoring on the programme again this year.
For anyone thinking about volunteering as a mentor with Mosaic, I would suggest you go for it! There are young people at schools who need an extra push from someone they trust. Your encouragement and positivity might make a huge impact on someone’s life because of the skills you have. Volunteering your time will enable you to give something back into the community and reinforce the idea to the young people you mentor to do the same, inspiring the next generation of role models.