Introducing Gina… Mentoring Gateway Support Assistant

Hi I’m Gina, and I have worked at The Door for a few years both in youthwork and intensive support. My current role is as a telephone mentor.

Tell us about that.

Ok, I work in the Mentoring Gateway team which provides remote support for young people, on the phone or by video call. My role is to give young people a non-judgemental listening space, so whether they have had a good day or a bad day they can express themselves and feel supported.

Excellent, and how does that look day to day?

At the moment I work three afternoons a week starting once school has finished, I call each young person for around 20 minutes.

And what is your favourite part of your role?

For me, seeing the growth that young people develop with time and the confidence they gain in understanding and owning their feelings has been fulfilling work. The best part is when we hear a young person that has been struggling for some time, begin to gain more confidence and feel more empowered to be themselves and feel more “whole”.

Through our consistent support, they become more able to talk to those around them like their parents and friends which in turn builds a network of care around them.

If that’s the best bit, what is more challenging?

Starting a mentoring relationship over the phone can be difficult, building trust with someone you have never met or even seen, takes time but it’s worth it in the end.

As well as my work here, I am studying to become a qualified counsellor and it’s been rewarding to use my counselling skills to inform and improve my mentoring work on the telephone.

What else have you learned while working at The Door?

I’ve learned that taking care of our mental health and learning how to regulate and understand our emotions while we are young is so vital. For young people, it equips them with the skills to build resilience from a young age ready for when they grow up and have to face bigger challenges.

I may sound a bit biased but for me, having a mentor is all about a young person showing up for themselves and their mental health and not being afraid to say that they need the help and in doing so they realise that mentors are willing to listen and be there to support them.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Ha! That’s easy, my mother’s African cooking, ofcourse, all her stews and dips are always delicious. Though if it had to be one thing, it would probably be her Mukimo (mo-ki-mo) for me, it’s the African version of “bubble and squeak” but packed with spices and you can eat it with anything!

What about sports?

I don’t really do sports,  although I do enjoy hiking and my husband’s an ultra marathon runner so I’m quite into (observing him) running. Coming from Kenya though, I think a bit of running might be in my DNA!

And finally, do you have a quote you would like to share?

Yes, a great Swahili quote I love for Mental Health Week to encourage young people to look out for each other is “Jaza ya ihsani ni ihsani.” which means “The reward for kindness is kindness”.

Thank you

Introducing Gina

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