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 Kim

Image of LOOK mentor Kim with blond long hear wearing black dark glasses.

The mentor role can be hugely rewarding – supporting others while boosting self-development and confidence too. Longstanding LOOK Mentor Kim shares her journey of mentoring, starting from the early days of the initial project launch to the present, where the LOOK mentoring project now supports over 200 mentoring partnerships.

How did you initially get involved with LOOK?

I initially became involved with LOOK in 2015 when I was a student at RNC in Hereford. At the time, they had a small office on campus that I used to visit regularly. I helped to establish a weekly youth forum for VI teenagers from local schools. This naturally developed into an ongoing volunteering role when the mentor project began a year later.

What motivates you to continue working with LOOK?

There is a fantastic community at LOOK and mentors receive just as much support from the team as our mentees. I have met some of my best friends through volunteering and continue to attend the regular socials and steering groups.

Being an active part of the community makes everything feel more valuable- we can see the impact of our work, interact with the families we support, and feel the team spirit.

What impact has the mentor project had on your life?

I have been involved with the mentor project from the very beginning and watched the seed of an idea grow into a flourishing service that has such a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of this journey.

The mentees I supported in the early days have now left school and made their next steps with confidence. Some of them swapped sides and became mentors, so they can support the next cohort of young people.

I hope the project will continue to expand and develop.

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

It’s nostalgic to look back at the early days of the project and think about how much has changed since then, both at LOOK and in my personal life. I hope the mentors and mentees joining today will also have positive experiences and make wonderful memories to look back on.

In the short term, we are eagerly awaiting the return of LOOKfest!

Kim, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. As a member of the LOOK family for over nine years, your dedication and compassion has profoundly impacted the lives of the visually impaired young people you have mentored. You’ve guided them through challenging times, nurturing their confidence and self-belief, enabling them to thrive as they transition into adulthood.

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)