Volunteering can change lives - including your own

The Switch is our mentoring project for young people leaving Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). It’s a crucial time in their lives and the transition to adult services or life without mental health support can leave them feeling uncertain and overwhelmed.

That’s why the project recruits volunteer mentors to support them. The mentors are matched to a young person (mentee) and they meet for five hours a month – they might go for a coffee, enjoy a hobby together or explore London. It doesn’t sound like much, but simply being there for them, listening and supporting them, can help build these young people’s confidence and emotional resilience.

For one of our volunteers, Marie, mentoring on The Switch was her very first volunteering experience. She told us how much she enjoyed it – and how much she learnt about herself as well.

Marie says: “I’m really glad my mentee has achieved so much and I'm happy to have been a part of it. She is going to make a lovely young adult and she finally understands that small achievements can add up to one big amazing one!”

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work on this project.  In all honesty, it has been much harder than I expected, and very tiring and stressful at times, but I really wouldn't change it for the world.”

“Being a mentor has taught me so much about myself as well, which I wasn't expecting at all. I thought I was patient before, but I think this has taken it to a whole other level, and I realised that sometimes I wasn't participating in life either, so I am trying to take my own positive advice and work on areas of my life which I haven't been happy with too.  Also, I am much more aware of what kind of image I want to project to people in my life who look to me as a responsible or professional person e.g. my young cousins, at work etc, and I am much more thoughtful about what kind of role model I want to be to young people around me.”

“If you ever need volunteers again I would be more than happy to put myself forward!”

The Switch has had such a positive reaction from potential volunteers that we're no longer recruiting female volunteers. However, if you are a male, aged 21-40 and living in London, you could become a mentor on the project. You could change a young person's life  ... and possibly even your own. Find out more here.