A Mentor’s Tale

Jo Goggin – Volunteer Mentor
In July 2010, after an excellent and thought provoking training session I was introduced to Sonia who was keen to develop her oral and written English skills.

Sonia was particularly anxious to improve her ability to understand, complete and successful pass the required exams to become a beautician. Although fully qualified in her native Bolivia, she needed to pass the equivalent exams in England. Having been unsuccessful a few times she believed that it was her English skills that were hampering her success.

Life as Sonia’s mentor was very straightforward. She was highly motivated to succeed, committed to meeting on a regular weekly basis and from the very beginning we got on very well.

I really looked forwarded to our weekly sessions. The sessions were made more interesting and also at times more challenging by the presence of Sonia’s 2 year old daughter, Ruby. Trying to keep Ruby occupied and contented in a confined space presented some challenges for Sonia from time to time. Then, we discovered the Family Services at the Cardinal Hume Centre and these difficulties disappeared. Ruby was happily able to benefit from the wide range of learning experiences offered by the staff in the Family Services while Sonia and I met in an adjacent room.

By early December Sonia had passed her exams and achieved her first objective. She had also moved house at roughly the same time. No small achievement and I was very happy for her. We continued the mentoring sessions so Sonia could further improve her English and find a suitable school for Ruby.

I was able to help Sonia identify a suitable school where she has a good chance of Ruby being accepted. We still meet twice a month and hope to continue to do so until the registration process for a school place has been completed in the autumn of 2011.

At this point we will bring our mentoring relationship to a close but I am confident that we will keep in touch and meet up on occasions so that we can catch up on developments in Sonia’s life and career and follow Ruby’s development through school.

I have really enjoyed the challenge of being a mentor with the Cardinal Hume Centre and would recommend the experience to everyone.