Experience has shown us that visually impaired young people are best supported by those who have personal experiences of living with a visual impairment. Which is why our pioneering peer mentoring scheme connects visually impaired young people with a more experienced visually impaired mentor.

Meet Mentor Pauline

At LOOK we are passionate that nobody should cope alone. Our peer mentoring programme creates community and connection amongst visually impaired young people. Our mentor partnerships create a safe nurturing space for younger mentees to talk about their experiences and learn from the lived experiences of our mentors.

LOOK Mentor Pauline has been with the mentoring team since its inception and despite moving abroad she has continued to create meaningful and positive connections with the mentees she has worked with.

How did you initially get involved with LOOK?

It was quite a long time ago! But I think I saw something on Facebook about a mentoring project. Although it was not in my area (and I was in the process of moving to Brussels at that time), I thought it was a great initiative.

I would have loved to have this when I lost my sight at 14! So I got in touch with LOOK and I’ve been invited to what I think was the very first mentors training, back in 2016. It was a lovely experience.

What motivates you to continue working with LOOK?

The LOOK community is just amazing, they do such incredible work for visually impaired children and their families.

I may be based outside of the UK, I may not be the most active of mentors and I may have had quite a different experience from someone with a VI growing up in the UK, but I sincerely enjoy the LOOK vibe.

I am more than happy to be a mentor, the relationship with mentees goes both ways: I try to support and help as much as I can but they also teach me a lot.

What impact has the mentor project had on your life?

The various partnerships, so different from each other, have allowed me to develop so many different skills. I also question myself a lot, which is quite challenging but makes me feel proud when I look back at it.

Being a mentor is rewarding in more than one way.

What does the future look like for you and your mentees?

I look forward to hearing about my mentees after our partnership ends. They may have taken only a few or even just one little thing from our discussion, but this is largely enough for me, I am so happy to see them being more confident!

Pauline, your unwavering support for the LOOK mentoring program over the past nine years has been truly remarkable. Your dedication and commitment have helped countless young people navigate life with a visual impairment. By sharing your lived experiences, you have shown mentees the endless opportunities available to them and demonstrated the profound impact a positive ‘can do’ approach can have on life. Thank you!

LOOK’s tailored peer-mentoring service connects VI young people with a trained VI mentor to offer advice, support and guidance on subjects such as school, Further & Higher Education, careers, opportunities and independent living, based on the mentor’s own experiences.

It’s a hugely rewarding role that requires valuable skills that are transferable to other roles, both voluntary and in employment. Many of our mentors believe the skills that they have developed through mentoring benefit their CVs and job applications.

“The mentoring service is important because everyone needs somebody to guide them at one time or another. It feels great to be able to offer that to someone: I know there have been plenty of times in my life when I would have found it really helpful.” (Zahra, mentor)