Care Charity In Search For New Mentors

A charity has launched a new appeal for mentors to help provide young people in care with the support needed to achieve their full potential. The ‘Do You Care?’ campaign by Voypic – the Voice of Young People in Care – aims to encourage adults of all ages to volunteer for the charity’s recently launched mentoring programme.

Mentors are asked to spend time with young people in care, doing everyday things with them such as playing football, talking about school and homework and encouraging them to set and achieve goals for themselves.

Potential mentors will be provided with special training by Voypic and carefully matched with a young person for up to a year. Voypic also provides support to mentors throughout their participation in the programme.

The campaign, supported by Cool FM and The Children and Young People’s Funding Package, will feature a series of posters, leaflets and advertising over the coming week period, aiming to encourage potential mentors to apply before the closing date of June 30. Voypic is currently looking for 100 volunteers.

Speaking at the campaign launch at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry, Voypic’s director Vivian McConvey said: “Young people in care are just like any other teenager growing up in Northern Ireland, but they do need some extra support to achieve their full potential.

“The work that we’ve done with these young people shows that their frequent moves between types of care, the area where that care is provided and the circumstances which led to them being in care in the first place mean that the stability of having a mentor who is there just for them for a year can make an enormous difference to their self esteem and sense of their own potential.”

Voypic extended its mentoring programme to cover all of Northern Ireland earlier this year, following a successful pilot programme in the Eastern Health and Social Services Board area. Ronnie Kennedy was one of the mentors from that programme.

“I am coming to the end of my mentoring time with a young person at the moment and I feel satisfied that I have helped steer him in the right direction. I look forward to our time together and we do things like bowling, go-karting and hill climbing,” he said. “You need to be patient and above all a good listener, often the young people have been through a lot and it is very rewarding when they trust you enough to talk about their feelings.”