Introducing Louise, BDA Scotland's new Mentoring Officer, Deaf Roots & Pride- Scotland
Today we chat to Louise Sloan, BDA Scotland’s new Mentoring Officer for the Deaf Roots & Pride Project, about her role within the team and how the Mentoring aspect of the project works.
You can read a full transcript of the video below.
Charlene: Hi, I’m Charlene from BDA Scotland and I’m the DRP Transition Officer. Today, I want to introduce you to Louise…
Charlene: Louise is our Mentoring Officer. Today, I want to ask a few questions about your role and what’s involved with mentoring. So, can you tell us about what your responsibilities are as Mentoring Officer?
Louise: I’m responsible for finding people who might be interested in being involved as mentors, being matched to a child – we have many different youngsters. It’s important also to reach out to the children and ensure they’re happy having an adult mentor. Once matched, they are able to undertake different activities as part of what the young person would like to do or learn about.
Charlene: So you check out which adult mentor suits which young mentee. You find out what the mentee is interested in and find someone who is suitable.
Louise: I go through various processes because every child is different; they have different personalities and different interests. I do the same when we are checking what adult mentors have to offer. When there’s a suitable ‘match’, and if the parents are happy with the mentor, then it’s all systems go!
Charlene: So, there’s a process involved – tell me more about that.
Louise: I see parents, explain what mentoring is and find out what their child’s interested in as well as address any queries they may have. I look at who I think would be a good match as mentor for their child. Then, I’ll arrange to bring that person along to meet the parents and the child - the family. I’ll introduce the mentor to the mentee, see how they’re getting on and we go through a number of ‘rules’ if you like, about what they can do and what to expect. After that, they decide what they’d like to do and when they’d next meet up. I’ll still be involved but will take a back seat and observe them in the activity.
Charlene: So they set out to do something, draw up an action plan to achieve what they want to do?
Louise: Yes. Let’s say they want to gain skills in travelling, buying tickets, understand timetables for trains and buses…
Louise: Yes, learning. The mentor would be there to support them and show them how to do it. When they do an activity, travelling to the activity is part of the process of learning about transport and how to use it.
Charlene: Are these 1:1 sessions or …?
Louise: We have 1:1 sessions – mentor and mentee. We also have groups of children with their mentors who meet together – it depends on the activity. People chip in to say what they want to do and make plans. It could be ten pin bowling.
Charlene: In addition to activities like bowling, might they go to a Deaf Youth Club or be signposted to different Deaf organisations?
Charlene: So the mentor would go with them and help them gain confidence and make sure they’re okay.
Charlene: What age do you have to be to be involved in the project?
Louise: Between 8 to 20 years of age.
Charlene: What area do you cover or do you cover the whole of Scotland?
Louise: The project covers the central belt so from Ayrshire, to Glasgow, Edinburgh and up into Fife. That sort of area.
Charlene: How does a young person become a mentee? Do they do this via their school or other services?
Louise: Yes, we have schools who are interested in what we’re doing so they can ask their schools and they or their parents can refer them on to us.
Charlene: So parents can refer their child too via the referral form which is on our website?
Louise: Yes. It’s on the website.
Charlene: I wanted to ask you about the activities the children do. Are parents also able to decide on the activities their child does? Who decides?
Louise: No, not the parents. The child/ren decide because it’s about what they want to achieve, do, and learn. It’s important they gain confidence, learn about things they’re interested in, are with role models, be signposted to other things, see what adults do, be inspired by them and see how they can shape their future. That’s an important aim of the project – that young people can be inspired and set out to achieve similar successes as their mentors.
Charlene: That’s really important. Now, what sort of timeframe are we talking about? A short one or a longer one? How long does it take to achieve their aims?
Louise: We usually think in terms of six months. If the child makes a lot of progress, it can be shorter than that. Maybe as little as 4 or 5 weeks. If they want to carry on for as long as a year, we can do that too.
Charlene: So there could be more support depending on the child’s needs.
Louise: Every child is different and it depends on their age, interests and their needs.
Charlene: And their confidence as well. Well, thanks so much for telling us about what you do. It’s been interesting to learn about mentoring.
Louise: Just to add, if you know someone, or if you yourself are interested in being an adult mentor, there’s information available on the website about this. Get in touch and we’ll see what’s possible.
Charlene: Absolutely! I think’s it’s so important that young people have Deaf role models because you have been through a range of experiences yourselves so you know what it’s like and can give a young person lots of life tips, install confidence in them and be a role model to them. Like you said Louise, young people can look up to the Deaf adults. It’s a really important part of the project isn’t it, becoming confident young Deaf people. Thanks so much.
Louise: Thank you.