Updated: Jun 16, 2021
My name is Kelly Kennedy and I am the project coordinator for our new exciting volunteer project Y’s Girls. The program is a volunteer mentoring program aimed at young girls aged 9-14 years old.
"I feel very excited about this project as I have always felt there is a high need for preventative measures, rather than cure, and that is what this project aims to do."
In a world where we are compared to others from an early age and with pressure from peers, social media, and other sources, our young women have to go through a lot as they transition from child to adult. We hope to allow them to feel comfortable in their own skin. To believe in themselves, to know their own worth, and to be able to build positive relationships and reach goals that will carry them through to a brighter future.
I feel really honoured to be running the program alongside an array of wonderful volunteers from our local community.
Our volunteers have been training and are very keen to get involved and make a real positive difference to those who may be disadvantaged or at risk of struggling in the future, with issues such as self-esteem and confidence, school attendance, and much, much, more.
I have always been passionate about helping young people and have worked for the Southend YMCA for many years; working within the housing provision, as a support worker, in the music department as a drum tutor/mentor, and in more recent years, within our mentoring provision. I have found the difference the charity makes to our young people of the future is outstanding.
This project will be young person led, whereby the young person will set themselves specific, realistic and achievable goals to improve their wellbeing.
We hope to build a strong community of mentors and mentees and intend to involve as many young people and our fabulous volunteer mentors in group activities, as well as 1-1 sessions, throughout the course of a year. It can involve our mentors and mentees taking part in local activities, such as sports, youth clubs, beach walks, picnics, crazy golf, and more.
I have been amazed by the vast array of volunteers and hope to combine skills and experiences to enable this exciting project to be a roaring success and of benefit to all.
Having faced struggles myself as a teen, I clearly see the need for positive role models to stand in the gap for young people. This is what sparked my passion for helping young people.
I truly hope our volunteers get as much out of their experience as the young girls being mentored on the project. For me personally, having previously volunteered myself, I found it to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I found people I worked with were genuinely touched that I was volunteering to help them.
"What, you are not even getting paid?", they would say. They were surprised to hear it was because I cared about young people, and understood some of the difficulties they faced, and that I wanted to do something to help those going through tougher times.
I actually found working with young people so interesting, rewarding and valuable, it launched me into my youth work career.
Without these kinds of early intervention, young women in our community could be at risk of not reaching their full potential, and what a great shame that would be, for them to not have the chance to flourish and thrive!
By providing a positive role model and a chance to socialise with other young people and adults alike, I believe these young girls will blossom, enabling them to grow into stable girls with huge self-worth.
It has been such a great pleasure to get to know all of our volunteers and it so exciting to have trained some ready to go! We are now accepting referrals.
The referral form can be found on our website https://www.southendymca.org.uk/mentoring-and-coaching
We still have spaces for several more volunteers for training throughout July. If you’d like to apply to be a mentor please visit https://www.southendymca.org.uk/recruitment