Jacky: I’m a single mum who works full time, with an amazing 26 year old son who has just completed his Masters in the USA. He went there on a golf scholarship. I believe he was lucky enough to go to the USA because of the support and encouragement I gave him and I think any child can achieve what they want in life with support, love and encouragement. Also, because he is away I have a lot more time to spare to volunteer.
‘How did you find out about CHAS?’
J: My company are one of the ‘Secret Santa’ group of Oxfordshire companies that buy a chosen Christmas present for each of the kids. After meeting and talking to CHAS at the handover of the presents, I could not believe the statistics stats that 65% of boys with a parent in prison would end up in prison themselves. This was more than 5 years ago now, and I have been a volunteer with CHAS ever since.
‘What is your favourite memory as a mentor?’
J: It is extremely rewarding and satisfying to me to be a volunteer and my best moment was when one of my 8 year old male mentees, who had very little affection at home, ran upstairs when I dropped him home, ran back down the stairs, gave me a hug and said thank you for taking him out (this was after several months of taking him and his siblings out) – little things like that make it all worthwhile.
‘Do you feel supported by CHAS?’
J: I have always felt fully supported by all CHAS staff with any questions or queries or just a general catch-up. They are always available to assist you to make the most of being a volunteer mentor.
‘What do you think makes a good mentor?’
J: Anyone who loves children and wants the opportunity to make a difference.
‘What would you say to someone who’s thinking of becoming a mentor?’
J: Do it! You will be providing an extremely valuable service to a child that could enhance their life and you’ll make a little friend too. You only need an hour a week spare – if you have more time to spare, even better!