“Hi, I’m Natalie, a Maths Masters student at the University of York.
I initially became interested in the Mentoring Project about 18 months ago, and was appointed my first mentee in April this year. I was so keen to become a mentor because it has bothered me ever since I lost my sight (aged 8), how much people like me are held back. I was diagnosed as blind, not stupid. Yet, at every turn, I was restrained and discouraged from striving for more.
My goal is to break this vicious cycle. I want to have a positive impact on as many people as possible, particularly young people who are at such a critical stage in their lives; to pass on some of the skills I’ve learned and developed, and to help guide them through some of the tougher aspects of being visually impaired in a sighted world. I treat my mentee like I would anyone of their age. Why should I treat them differently? I aim not to spoon-feed them answers; but rather to start them off on the right track, highlight plausible directions, and then leave them to have a go at navigating their chosen path for themselves, whilst frequently reminding them that I’m always there should they want/need me. My aim is to encourage them to think and try for themselves but to be there if they need just that little bit more help.”
Natalie has recently landed a top-notch job as Assistive Technology Tester at the BBC; a job that was actually advertised by another LOOK mentor, Ben Rose! Congratulations Natalie!