Supporting Parents and Carers of children with a Visual Impairment
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The Importance of Mentoring: Attending a LOOK Mentor Training Weekend

 

On 13 July, a group of trainee and current LOOK mentors gathered for our mentor training weekend.  Our online mentor scheme matches visually impaired mentors with blind and partially sighted mentees aged 11-29. Mentors use their experiences of living with a visual impairment to give support and advice through a structured programme of conversations.

Sam is our Project Assistant, who also trained to become a LOOK mentor. He writes about what the training involves and why he wanted to become a mentor.

If I could sum up the whole weekend in terms of questions answered, those questions would be:

“What is mentoring”? “Why is it important”? and “Why is it needed”?

After the orientation and the icebreakers, which in hindsight we might not have needed, as the ice had already melted the moment we started interacting with each other; we began our training journey.

Through a succession of workshops designed to give a greater understanding of the responsibilities of a mentor. We covered communication skills and safe guarding, where we looked at some case studies. We also talked about mentoring in regards to scheduling a conversation and creating a boundary agreement with the mentee.

The sessions felt more like seminars/discussions, both relaxed and intense, informal yet informative, locating the problems as well as directing the attention to solving them.

The group discussions served as a reminder of the reasons why I wanted to be a mentor and help another VI young person struggling to find someone to relate to.

One of my highlights of the weekend was definitely during the safeguarding session with the case studies. I found that session quite challenging as we were asked to respond as a mentor to the different scenarios. Some of the tips sounded quite simple for example asking open questions etc.

Another of the highlights was the speed mentoring activity, which I found also challenging, as it required us to be able to respond in real time to our partner/mentee, as well as taking on the role of the mentee.

As I was leaving the venue what stayed with me was the importance of mentoring and it’s role in bridging and in some cases removing those barriers that VI people encounter in their daily lives.

If you want to find out more about our mentoring scheme, email Megan on mentor@look-uk.org or call 01432 376314.

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