Spring is in the air and with that comes the better weather. Well, living in Scotland, we are always hopeful this will be the year of lots of sun. It’s also a really good time of year for matching up mentees with mentors as more daylight hours provides opportunities to take part in wide range activities out of doors.
Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine matches Service veterans and family members living in Glasgow and Edinburgh with volunteer mentors who provide face to face support, a couple of times each month, over the course of 3 to 9 months, by setting goals. This helps mentees focus their day, which is a supportive tool as it can be difficult for veterans who have mental health issues to think about the days ahead when faced with anxiety, panic attacks, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mentors are good at breaking down the goals in to small steps, so that mentees feel they are achieving all of the time. Mentors and mentees are matched in relation to their interests and hobbies and what they would like to get out of the match. They also meet at various times in the day, whenever suits both, so it's very flexible.
Mentees are supported with a wide range of goals, including: having someone to talk with if they are feeling low, enhancing confidence and self-esteem, help in focusing their day whether they have a lots going on, or would like to enhance their social circle, or taking up a new interest or hobby. Having someone there, just for them, helps their confidence to grow, especially when they have someone to do activities with.
Stephen, a veteran living in Glasgow has recently been matched with Rita, a TimeBank volunteer mentor. I received a really nice note from Stephen the other day. He said “I have had two great meetups with my mentor Rita, so far and two enjoyable days. We enjoyed walks, going to museums and discussed a wide range of topics including baking, photography and gardening. My mentor is a very knowledgeable person and a very good listener. I just wanted you to know that I am getting a lot from this mentoring programme and look forward to the next meet up.” That made my day.
I’ll be in George Square, Glasgow for Armed Forces Day next month on 27th June, 2015. Do come along to the TimeBank stall for a chat and pick up a flyer to find out more about the project, or how you as a veteran or family member could be supported by a mentor; I’m also recruiting for volunteer mentors.