Our Mentor Project Coordinator Ruth tells us why she nominated Sam as Mentor of the Month:

“Sam’s continued support, participation and creativity with his mentoring is delightful and a shining example of the community and friendship he brings to LOOK.

In his exchanges with his mentee, Sam’s interest in his mentee’s personality, individuality and enjoyment of their connection is clear to see. Whenever we need to chat about matters mentoring it is a highlight in my working week as the conversation he has developed with his mentee is special and fun-filled. I am looking forward to the months ahead as we can work on more projects together and we all wish Sam the very best for 2021.

His contributions to LOOK media projects have been vital and we would love to grow these projects with him in addition to his mentoring connection. Sam’s calm presence and support through the LOOK community, from mentor friendships, forum participation and willingness to write for us brings the whole team huge motivation and happiness.

Thank you, Sam, and we look forward to more Sam Obi writing and discussion in the months ahead!”

Meet Sam:

“Hi, Sam here,: or for the extended version, hi, my name is Samuelson Obigbesan. I’m 29 years old and have been mentoring for LOOK for about a year. I like to think of myself as a writer, a bit of a dabbler in music, a podcaster and all-around bookworm.

I first heard of LOOK during a break from a recording session at the Royal National College for the Blind. As we were making our midday cup of tea, we got chatting to Charlotte, the CEO of LOOK. We talked about mentoring and a number of other things. Fast forward a few months I was working for LOOK as a support assistant, mentor and podcaster.

Before university I’d never given that much thought to mentoring. I suppose that’s because I didn’t know how it could apply to me. Then, a few weeks before I started Uni, I underwent a process akin to mentoring with LOOK (a lot quicker and less extensive). I was paired with another VI student who was a second year. They would show me the ropes as it were. It was very useful – brief as it may have been. It gave me a new appreciation for the usefulness of having someone you can relate to and help you through different situations, even if it is just to talk.

So, I realised that I wanted to help someone too. I wanted to help by being the person that a mentee could relate to. I always look forward to receiving messages from my mentee. And I certainly enjoy  slaloming from topic to topic on occasion, following a Segway to the point where we have forgotten the original topic of discussion. From the latest braille tech to wordsmithing, and the finer points of rugby, there’s always something we can both expound upon. 

It’s a delight.

Tips I would give to any potential mentors

Don’t be afraid of questions. Don’t try to bombard your mentee; it is a combination of asking questions and listening that gets the conversation going. Also, show a bit of your personality. At the start I was not sure if I could share bits about me in the conversation, but I felt it would be stilted, plus, you want your mentee to know you are not a robot. And last but not least, show that you’re interested, your mentee will be able to tell. I tend to bring up things that we had mentioned previously in the conversation, it shows I’m paying attention, I keep a log of our conversation just so I can highlight certain things or to remind myself a few details.”

You can find Sam over on Twitter: @samobigbesan and @psimblind

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