‘My name is Rosalind, I’m 29 and I was involved in the Behind Every Kick project from February 2017, where following my initial mentor training, I attended a couple of training sessions to meet and get to know my mentee. Visiting him at training allowed me to get a feel for the sporting side of the project and meet my mentee in an environment where he was comfortable. Although he was a little hesitant to open up initially, the familiarity with me from the training sessions meant this happened much quicker than it would otherwise have done.

Before volunteering, I hadn’t been involved with any kind of mentoring role. As I work full-time, there is often little time for other activities. After a friend told me about the Behind Every Kick project, I decided to get involved. I was convinced I had something to offer a young person on the programme, because I have had lots of opportunities and so wanted to give something back.

Trying to make time to meet my mentee, who to begin with was difficult to nail down to times and locations, was a real challenge. After some initial teething problems, we developed a greater understanding and were able to meet twice a month. As well as finding organisation and time management a challenge, my mentee was also facing academic challenges when we first started meeting. We spoke about this ahead of his GCSE’s, and looked at career pathways beyond school that work to his strengths. He’s become much more open, and keen to try new things and experiences. His time keeping and management has improved also.

As for me, I felt like I also benefited greatly from the experience. Ahead of my meetings with my mentee, I researched things that might be helpful in his development, and felt I got to use skills that had lay dormant for some time. I got to know and know about people and groups within my community that I wouldn’t normally have contact with. My communication has benefited and l’m having to become interested in new things for the benefit of my mentee, which adds to my own personal development.’

If reading Rosalind’s story has inspired you to find out more about Behind Every Kick, visit their website for more information.