Amongst the many Life Skills development programs run at Dream A Dream for young people from disadvantaged programs, one of our most intensive and high-impact programs is the Dream Mentoring Program. One of the most powerful ways for us to empower young adults and provide them the last-mile support in their crucial adolescent phase.
61 volunteers were shortlisted from over 80 volunteer applications this year for the Jan-Feb 2012 batch of volunteer mentors.
The Dream Mentoring Program has been running for 6 years now bringing together community volunteers and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Started with just 10 mentor-mentee pairs in 2007, the program today engages 50 mentors every year to work one-on-one with 50 young adults at the most crucial time of their adolescent life.
The training is conducted by Dr. Dave Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennedy, Clinical Psychologists from UK who have been volunteering with us since 2006 and have extensive experience in the area of child and adolescent psychology. They returned once again this year to support the training for Dream A Dream’s mentoring program. As always, they have been amazing, keeping the group engaged, with their fantastic sense of humour, bringing a lot of fun to learning and also challenging everyone to unlearn and open their minds to deeper listening and validation.
“The training was great! Fiona and Dave helped us understand what is to be a mentor. And we were taken care of so much, it felt good being there. As, a counsellor it was easy to understand the class. I also liked the way Fiona woke us up after a good lunch by making us do few stretching exercises! I am looking forward to meeting my mentee”, shared Mohsina Ahmed, a volunteer who was part of the training.
The training covered different aspects of child development psychology and skills practice needed for mentoring – child development, mental health, relationships, formulation, advanced formulation, validation, positive- negative reinforcements.
Talking about her experience at the training, Diana Thomas said, " The concept of mentoring a child was explained in the most simple and effective manner by Fiona and Dave. Also, the course manual put together by them is extremely user friendly. All in all it was a really good experience." The mentor manual authored by Dave and Fiona and published for the first time last year, have brought more depth to the training, allowing volunteers to read, remember concepts and practice.
At each session, volunteers engaged in role plays and group activities to practice skills in validation, formulation, positive-negative reinforcement, etc. This made the sessions interactive and really tested volunteers in terms of applying the skills learnt to a real-life situation with a young adult from a disadvantaged background.
At the end of the training, there was a greater understanding of behaviour of disadvantaged young people and how the forces of negative and positive reinforcements affect behaviour. The mentors came away with solid tools to engage in building strong personal connections with young people and helping them learn to solve their own challenges through the mentoring relationship.
Over the last 6 years, the program has had over 200 mentor-mentee relationships and has become one of the most intensive and high-impact programs for young people at Dream A Dream.
“I find myself missing my mentor the minute he leaves the centre. He has left me with enough advice and confidence to help me help my friends who go through the same difficulties as me. I feel confident.” ~ A young adult in the Dream Mentoring Program, 14 years
In order to scale the program, Dream A Dream is currently building an internal team of Master Trainers; Dave and Fiona are developing a Master Trainer’s Manual and we have just begun training staff at Partner NGOs to run their own mentor programs.
You can read some of the experiences of the program at the volunteer blog http://dreammentors.blogspot.in/
PS: Dream A Dream is amongst the 8 finalists at the Global Sports Forum Community Trophies. Help us win the awards by casting your vote NOW. It will take just 2 seconds. The link is http://www.globalsportsforum.org/community_trophies/ and the deadline is 15th February 2012
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