The LOOK Mentor of the Month Award is designed to show the appreciation of the team at LOOK for all of the hard work that the mentors do as volunteers for our charity.

This month, our Mentor Project Co-ordinator Ruth has elected Mariam as our mentor of the month. Ruth tells us why:

‘Mariam has been a wonderfully engaged and supportive part of the mentoring community for about 2 and a half years now. Her mentoring connections are delightful – she always keep a clear focus on being mentee-led and considers what her mentee is saying and asking. These empathetic and focussed listening skills create a nurturing environment for her mentees to ask questions themselves and enjoy growing in confidence.

Mariam has been a huge support to LOOK events and activities. From LOOKFest where she turned her hand to all manner of activities and spent time with young people and families sharing her experiences and growing the LOOK community, to the present – where she is a part of a team of mentors developing the online Youth Forums.

She is so dedicated and considered in all that she does, practicing with Zoom features to prepare for sessions to researching matters for discussion with the group. We relish having her dedication and enthusiasm in the LOOK UK team.

It is thrilling to hear about Mariam’s new role at the Thomas Pocklington Trust. She thoroughly deserves this opportunity and we are so excited that the volunteering experience she developed at LOOK has been a productive stepping stone for her into this professional role.

We look forward to the next 2.5 years and beyond working with you, Mariam! Well done and thank you from all the LOOK UK Team!’

Meet Mariam

‘Hi everyone 😊

Thank you so much to LOOK UK for naming me Mentor of the Month for March 2021! It was completely unexpected and very much appreciated!

I attended the mentor training back in July of 2018. I remember it being a really sunny weekend, spending lots of time outdoors where LOOK made the most of the marvellous weather by holding lots of the sessions sitting on the grass in the sun. It was fantastic meeting all the other trainee mentors, a few of whom I now consider firm friends.

When I was a teenager, I came across some visually impaired adults. One of them was my Spanish teacher for a time, one an ICT teacher and the other a learning support assistant. I don’t think I ever spoke to them about their day-to-day lives outside lessons and later on, I remember wishing I had asked them questions about their lives outside work. I’ve managed to figure out lots of things myself through trial and error and other things. I’ve learnt tips and tricks from visually impaired friends.

The mentoring programme is such a great idea, giving younger visually impaired people the opportunity to simply chat to or ask older and/or more experienced visually impaired people questions. Remembering my past thoughts and feelings about having contact with a more experienced VI person, I thought becoming a mentor would be a great chance for me to provide to others, exactly what I had once wished for, from time to time.

I have been a LOOK mentor for about 2 and a half years now and have really enjoyed it! It has been amazing meeting so many visually impaired people, of all ages and I’ve had a lot of fun attending events before the lockdown and taking part with online events during the past year. I’m a real chatterbox once I get going, luckily listening and talking is a huge part of it, so it seems perfect.

The events I have been a part of have always felt quite laid back. Mentoring might sometimes feel nerve racking, especially to begin with. For me, just keeping in mind that there is not a right or wrong answer to things and people are mostly interested in your experience as a VI person has allowed me to enjoy my time volunteering for LOOK.

I would definitely recommend becoming a LOOK mentor to anyone thinking about it. Everyone within LOOK has been super friendly and supportive. They have been so keen to give opportunities and responsibilities to further your mentoring skills which is just fantastic! Not to mention, it looks great on a CV!

Thanks again to LOOK UK’

You can find out more about LOOK’s Mentoring programme, here.