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Holly’s Story

I felt that joining CXK’s Get Connected as a Peer Mentor would be a good opportunity to learn more about a community I know less about (those with Autistic Spectrum Conditions  – ASC) and interact with new people that I may have not have met if I hadn’t done the programme.

I had been studying for my A-Levels in Criminology, Health and Social Care, and Sociology. Health and Social Care is my passion and it made me want to learn more and help within the sector; another reason why I felt Get Connected would be a good fit for me personally.

“I really enjoyed seeing my mentee grow”

I really enjoyed the wide range of activities that were offered at the youth hub that allowed myself and others to come out of their comfort zones. Even though it was only a two hour session there was always something going on to get people involved. I also really enjoyed seeing my mentee growing and getting more comfortable and confident during the sessions.

I think having the freedom away from adults provided by peer mentoring was really helpful in allowing me to connect with my mentee. The youth workers were relaxed, accommodating and they helped everyone get involved through weekly competitions around the different activities.

“I learned that everyone communicates differently”

I have learned so much from being a Get Connected Peer Mentor. For example, I learnt that communication isn’t linear. Everyone communicates differently and for some people – especially those with ASC – communication can take time. The programme and my experience with my mentee taught me to be more patient, as I’m usually super chatty!

My main takeaway from Get Connected is that I can’t assume that everyone understands the world and humour in the same way that I do. You can’t tell what someone is like just by looking at them and I definitely know that more now.

I’ll be going to Bournemouth University this autumn to study Psychology with Counselling. I’m really looking forward to it and all the new possibilities and experiences that Uni has to offer me. I’m especially excited to get out of Gravesend and explore a new place.

My advice to anyone considering volunteering would be – If you want to volunteer, jump into it. You haven’t got anything to lose. You’ll meet so many new people and it’s really opened my mind up to a different perspective of my own community that I didn’t have before.

 

CXK’s Get Connected is a peer mentoring project matching young people together for structured activities based in Maidstone, Dartford and Gravesham. There are currently vacancies available for both Mentors and Mentees. Find out more on our Get Connected page.

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