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Alan was referred to us for a mentor by college, where he had studied for two years. He was a bit of a loner, had poor social skills, poor personal hygiene and did not know what he wanted to do after college. He is also carer for his disabled father. After a rocky start where Alan did not turn up for assessment, and dad cancelled another one due to illness, we agreed to meet and assess him at college. We had a very positive meeting; Alan showed a real desire to improve his life and especially his social skills. Two weeks later, in June this year, we matched him with Ben. They immediately got off to a good start, developing a bond between them, and meeting regularly.

Alan and Ben met most weeks and in the summer holidays they went on a Door On Tour trip together, where they engaged well with each other and others on the trip. Staff reported that they had both joined in well and had an enjoyable day.

We reviewed the mentoring in August and saw a completely different young man – Alan had had his hair cut, his clothes were clean, and he presented well. Several people had previously tried to encourage Alan to do this, without success. When we asked him what difference mentoring had made to him he said:

“It gave me time to think about how I deal with people and how I share my views with others. I now feel more confident, more comfortable and calm around others.”

We agreed to keep the mentoring going – both Alan and Ben also wanted this – and Alan’s goals for the next three months are to be able to introduce himself to new people and hold a conversation, as well as to think about his future options – something he has started doing together with Ben. Alan is returning to college for a further year of study, but this time with a more positive approach, in particular about meeting new class mates.

The transformation in this young man was astounding over such a short time – he put it down to the hard work and patience of the mentor – Ben put it down to Alan’s hard work and determination! It was a pleasure to meet them both, and witness the real value in mentoring young people who want to change.

Alan and Ben, A Mentoring Story