Tugse: My name is Tugse and I am a mentor with CHAS. I have been in this role for 8 months.
‘How did you find out about CHAS?’
T: I found out about CHAS on the do-it volunteering website.
‘What do you think are the benefits to the child you support?’
T: I support several mentees, and I believe there are a few common benefits for all of them. For example, they have an adult who is consistent, and the time they spend with them is solely focused on the child. It allows them to form a positive relationship with an adult outside of the family, without judgement about what the parent has done. It is also a space to talk about parental imprisonment, as well as connect with other children who have similar experiences.
‘What do you get out of volunteering?’
T: On a personal level, it is a joy to connect with a young person to offer them space to explore their emotions, but also to get to know them beyond the experience of parental imprisonment. I am also training to become a child psychotherapist, so it has been a great learning opportunity for me as well.
‘What is your favourite memory as a mentor?’
T: One of my favourite memories is when I took two brothers climbing, and the utter joy in their faces throughout the experience. They would turn to wave at me and smile, wanting to also share the happy experience with me. It was a lovely day.
‘Do you feel supported by CHAS?’
T: I do feel supported as staff are always at hand if I have questions, and my manager is always available to have catch up call and offer me support when needed.
‘What do you think makes a good mentor?’
T: As a good mentor, it is important to remember that the time spent with the children is solely theirs. It’s about what they need and want at that time, and being sensitive to not only what they say, but also what they don’t say. They may communicate in various ways, and as a mentor you respond to all the cues – this is what ensures that trust can be built and the young person feels understood.
‘What would you say to someone who’s thinking of becoming a mentor?’
T: It is an amazing experience to build a relationship with a young person, and be a part of their journey. I would encourage anyone, who is able to, to become a mentor. It’s a wonderfully rewarding role for us, but it’s an even more special experience for the children.