CROPS Mentoring programme - vision becoming reality
It was 18 months ago that CROPS launched its schools mentoring programme. Read this exciting update from Chris Wild who leads the project.
We had a vision that in 3 years’ time we’d have 30 mentors from local churches in our 15 secondary schools (2 in each), supporting young people going through difficult times of their lives by meeting students in their schools weekly listening, caring and offering guidance to them.
As with any new project I had much anticipation, would mentors come forward? Would the schools be open to our new venture? I needn’t have worried, it has been a fantastic 18 months.
Schools and volunteers have risen to the challenge. We are now mentoring in 10 local secondary schools having been enthusiastically accepted by them all. These are Nene Park Academy, Ormiston Bushfield Academy, The Kings School, Stanground College, Jack Hunt School, City of Peterborough Academy, Thomas Deacon Academy, Ken Stimpson School, Greater Peterborough University Technical College and Queen Katherine Academy.
We have trained 17 mentors and 14 of these are active in our schools making a difference to the lives of young people. It is also great to see the variety in our mentors. They represent 10 different churches in Peterborough and are aged from 19 to 75, some are experienced mentors and some have never done anything like this before.
Our mentors have helped young people facing a wide variety of issues this year, we’ve supported students who are dealing with bullying, self-harm, bereavement, self-esteem issues, alcoholic parents, parents who have been sent to prison, parental separation, watching domestic violence, violence and gangs, social skills and friendship problems, those close to being permanently excluded from school, running away from home, loneliness, anxiety, exam stress and physical abuse
To share one story: One of our mentors has been meeting a student who has many different struggles. Life at home wasn’t supportive for them with an environment filled with much tension and pressure. He was diagnosed with mental health issues and suffered from panic attacks. The recent break up of a long term relationship, mixed with no long or short term focus in life had led the student to feeling very little hope. The student described his life as’ permanently waiting for the next bad thing to happen’.
For the mentor it was mainly a matter of listening and helping them by reflecting back what they were saying to help them process their thoughts and feelings. It may sound simple but this has made a huge difference to the student’s life. Over the process of the half term where they met up each week it enabled the student to begin to open up at home and talk to their parents about how they were feeling. This has led to a huge improvement in family relationships. They sought further specialist help from other organizations which has led to an improvement in their mental health and with their mentor they have formulated a plan for their next steps in life giving them a new outlook and perspective on the future.
At the end of their final mentoring session together the student commented ‘thank you, you have really helped me, none of this would have happened without you’.
In 2017 we held over 350 different mentoring sessions with 60 different students. Already in the first 6 months of 2018 our mentors have taken over 400 mentoring sessions with around 80 students. We are so excited to see how God is going to continue to work through this project in the rest of 2018 and 2019.
We would love to be able to meet our target and have mentors in every secondary school in Peterborough, we still have more schools that we would like to approach and current schools that could take more mentors. We can’t meet this target without more mentors!
If you have an hour a week to spare and would like to know more about whether mentoring is something that could be for you, please do get in touch so we could meet to explore this opportunity.
For more information please contact Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01733 352701