“They knew when I spoke about Wellsprings, I was doing so from a perspective of having been a resident myself and not just from an outsider point of view.”
There was no specific way that I became a mentor in Wellsprings to be honest. I didn’t follow the usual guidelines or volunteer for the role. It happened very organically. At that time in my life, I was receiving a lot of support from the staff members there which in turn meant I was in Wellsprings quite a lot. It gave me the opportunity to get to know the residents and build relationships with them. Falling into the role of mentor came naturally from there. There is a huge value in the mentoring programme from my point of view. It gives the residents someone to relate to. Someone that they know they can speak to without being treated with kid gloves, as such. They know that I will always be honest with them, even if they don’t like it at the time, and that I am speaking from experience. The mentoring programme is also a great way for someone like me to develop skills in this area and to feel productive and important. It is invaluable and I truly believe that Wellsprings is a better place to live because of it.
Focus & Purpose
There have been numerous benefits to my becoming a mentor for not only the girls, but also for myself. At the time, it gave me a purpose. It gave me something to focus on and work for. Spending time with the girls let me focus on them and their wellbeing, which in turn, helped me to work on my own wellbeing. When I gave advice to the girls on helping to improve their lives and emotions I began to put the advice into practise more for myself. It didn’t all happen at once and I wasn’t even aware of it at the time, but looking back I can see that feeling productive and helpful in turn boosted my confidence and my happiness. It also helped me to see the benefit that Wellsprings had on me. Being a resident, it’s not always easy to see the help you are receiving for what it is. Most people come there from a place or time of distress but afterwards, seeing the benefits it gives and the difference it makes, it helps to get perspective. This in turn is perspective that I can pass onto the girls so that they can appreciate what they have, while they have it, so to speak.
Having a mentor come in gave the residents another person who would support and understand them, someone that they could relax around. I am able to spend time where it is needed most, so if one of the girls is having a difficult time, I can choose to spend time with her and do something to cheer her up or make her feel better. The girls know that I am available to do activities or play games etc. but the most important thing I have found out is simply that I come in and am there. Knowing that I was a resident in the past made them feel understood I think. They knew when I spoke about Wellsprings, I was doing so from a perspective of having been a resident myself and not just from an outsider point of view. It gave us a common bond, which made it easy to build steady relationships.