Donncha has been a volunteer with Le Chéile for nearly 10 years. In that time, he has seen real change in the lices of young people and himself. This is his story…
“I was on a train in 2013, reading the newspaper and saw an advertisement for Le Chéile Mentoring. I just thought it was a good way to give something back to society and thought it might be a fun challenge. I applied through their ad, was interviewed, trained, and I’ve been mentoring ever since.”
Every day is different for mentors. They’re matched with a young person aged between 12-23 years and meet on a weekly basis. “The young people are linked in to Le Cheile, then we are matched up. We begin with a basis of respect and meet every week. It’s all up to the young person, they lead on this, I’m here to help them as best I can. So, I always ask what their goals are. There’s no judgement, I’m just there to assist them and offer advice. Whether it’s educational, work related, or personal development, we talk about it, build a plan to take small steps and go from there. We don’t start off with the big picture, but bit by bit we get there.”
Le Chéile’s volunteer mentors are there to offer young people support, stability, and general guidance and through this see positive results like improved self-confidence, hopefulness, communications skills, engagement in activities and, crucially, a reduction in offending behaviour.
“Sometimes we have young people who start out looking at their phone more than you. They don’t have the confidence. But to see that young person in six months sitting up looking you straight in the eye and actually talking, the transformation is amazing.
It’s not always easy, sometimes it doesn’t always work out, but if anyone asked me should they volunteer I’d tell them ‘any challenges are so worth it.’ I have this philosophy, ‘if you give, you get’. And that’s exactly the kind of thing you find in mentoring. You can leave a positive legacy in your community, just by being there for someone.”
If you are interested in volunteering with Le Cheile Mentoring, explore our website and submit a volunteer application.