In the Spotlight: Volunteer Mentors

Hull Children’s University has over 200 volunteer mentors from many different walks of life. Our mentors are essential to our programme and we are so grateful to each and every one of them for taking their time to support our children.

Mentors accompany our children on the experiences we provide and support them in their learning throughout the day. We have mentors who are students, firemen, police officers, retired teachers, nurses, business owners, factory workers and many more.

Two of our mentors told us about their experiences volunteering with Hull Children’s University:

Kate

When the founder and former director of Hull Children’s University, John Buttrick, approached BBC Hull in 2011 about the prospect of working with them to create a new module, Kate was asked by her manager to lead the module. After seeing how much the children enjoyed the module and relished the opportunity for extra-curricular learning, Kate decided to volunteer as a mentor for other Hull Children’s University experiences in her own free time.

Since becoming a mentor, Kate has volunteered on a huge variety of experiences, from the locally based Ambassadors of Hull, which sees the children learn more about their city through different activities such as designing and conducting a survey, to the residential Night at the Museum experience which takes the children all the way to London for a sleep over at the Natural History Museum. Her favourite trip so far has been the London with Parliament experience as the long days with lots of walking around London really give the mentors a chance to get to know the children.

Kate has found working as a mentor thoroughly enjoyable and has learnt a great deal about herself through the experience. She would definitely recommend being a mentor to anyone who is looking to help inspire and encourage some of the most deserving children in our area. She believes that by building confidence within children and giving them an insight into experiences they might not otherwise have, it will encourage them to commit more to their studies and see the benefits of their work, which in turn will give them a far greater chance of success in the future.

Dave

Dave has been working as a mentor for the Hull Children’s University for 10 years now. Back in 1997, when he was working at Smith & Nephew, the company sent round an email asking for volunteers to help with the Hull Children’s University. After listening to the aims and aspirations of the charity, his interest was sparked.

Dave has been on many different classroom and non-classroom based modules over the years and has enjoyed all of them. He believes that these experiences add another dimension to the school experience by improving literacy and numeracy skills, and life experiences outside the classroom.

The benefits of the experiences do not only fall on the children. Dave has found that since starting volunteering with the Hull Children’s University, he has become more confident, out-going and willing to take on new experiences. He feels that if you can be a good listener, and treat the children with an open and positive mind, then both the children and the adult mentors benefit from these experiences.