The Virtual School has responsibility to oversee the education for all Looked After children in Gloucestershire. After attending their annual conference and speaking with them about mentoring, we were successful in signing a contract to offer a mentor for all looked after young people.
We have worked with one such 15 year old girl in year 9 and meet with her weekly after school. Mentoring sessions have formed a pattern of one week talking about “stuff” and working through workbooks on anxiety and self esteem, and alternate weeks doing colouring. The mentor discovered colouring for adults – intricate patterns to colour in, and both mentor and mentee enjoy this activity while also chatting and having a drink. Often just as much “stuff” is discussed as in other weeks.
Significantly this young person is also seen by CYPS once a month, and she reports that those appointments are much easier with the support of mentoring to help her prepare for, and reflect on them.
The main issue for CYPS was the difficult relationship between her and her foster mother – the girl recognized due to her back ground she has difficulty with somebody in a female caring role. However, on Mothers’ day, she made a card for her foster mother which brought tears to everybody’s eyes!