Scholar Spotlight – Mentoring gave me someone to engage with, with honest and truthful advice

Scholar Spotlight – Mentoring gave me someone to engage with, with honest and truthful advice

Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

As part of our scholar spotlight series, we interviewed one of the scholars on the Young Leaders programme. Please watch the video above for the full interview where Daniel shares his experience on how the GT Scholars programme has helped him.

Hi, my name is Daniel and I’m a former scholar of GT Scholars. I’m currently studying sociology, psychology, religious studies and will also start criminology studies in September at Saint Francis-Xavier College.

Why did you apply to GT Scholars?
Initially, my mum signed me up for GT Scholars because she thought it would be a good idea for me to have a mentor and be able to talk to someone who wasn’t a family member or a friend.

What was your experience of the mentoring programme?
When I joined GT Scholars I thought what’s the point in me having a mentor, why do I have to do this, why do I need someone to talk to. At the end f the programme, I could see that it was a massive benefit to have someone to rely on and talk to. In the beginning, I had a bad temperament, I got angry a lot and I didn’t really know how to behave in social situations. Mentoring helped me to understand my own behaviour, how I act towards other people & also see how I could improve myself. At first, Jason helped me to see that the way I was acting wasn’t necessarily great and it did take some time. He taught me how I should act when I’m around people and I can see now that I could walk into any sort of social situation or maybe even an interview and I can impress people.

What was your mentor like?
When I first met Jason I thought he was okay and I didn’t really see the benefit of him being there. I thought that Jason was a nice guy and that he sort of understands where I’m coming from. I could also see that he wanted to help me, but my question was why should I let him help me and how would he be able to help me. He started by telling me about his hobbies and interests and then I realised that we actually had a lot in common. At the end of the day, I could see that he really wanted to help me. I think for a mentor the most important thing is to be able to help the mentee, but it is also important to have something in common with them. You could be two completely different people, but at the end of the day if you could find one thing that you have in common with each other then it will be easier to actually help the mentee. Jason is quite possibly the best mentor I could have had and I can say that with wholehearted confidence. When I had sessions he would talk about anything from the big thing like family problems or education, to all the little things such as why I was late for a meeting.

How has the programme helped you academically?
At the start of the mentoring programme, my grades were not the best they could be. I was drifting through college, going to lessons, coming home, sleeping, eating, just typical teenage stuff. When I completed the programme my grades went up and I could see that mentoring wasn’t just about telling you what you can do in the future but it also had a positive impact on me during the programme. Mentoring showed me that education is important and you do need to do well.

What have you learned about yourself throughout the programme?
A new thing I learned was that I do have a lot of potential to do great things. Jason helped me realise that if I don’t use my potential in a good and positive manner, then at the end of the day I won’t be able to achieve anything, and that was a massive lesson for me to learn.

Why was mentoring valuable to you?
At the end of the programme I could see that everything Jason taught me from day one till the end I could use in future situations. For example, he taught me how to answer interview questions and I’d be able to use that in the future if I wanted to apply for a job or university. He taught me how to dress and I know now if I want to apply for university then I have to dress smart. It’s just all the little things that he taught me which builds up and I will be able to use this as an adult when I’m 30, 40, or 50 years old.

What did you enjoy most about the programme?
The thing I enjoyed most about the programme was having someone genuine to talk to who I could engage with, someone who doesn’t necessarily say something to please me like a yes person, but someone who gives me that honest truth about something, so giving me actual information and having that person to rely on when I need help.

What would you say to young people who want to join the programme?
I would tell anyone that’s younger who wants to join the programme to be open-minded. You can’t expect to see results straight away, it is a process and it does take a lot of time but in the end, you will see results. You will see that you are a better person. I would say it is natural to be resistant because even I was at first, but you still have to give it a chance. You can’t be a hundred percent resistant like you don’t want to do it and you do have to be open, you can’t just expect results, you have to try and achieve results.

I just want to say thank you to Jason, he has been the greatest mentor that I could have asked for, everything he’s done for me, all the advice, all the information, he truly and quite possibly will be I want to say a life long friend!

In The Know: Let’s make a change – Apply to join the Youth board!

In The Know: Let’s make a change – Apply to join the Youth board!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting daily reminders on social media and the news of the change that is happening around us. From young to old, everyone is trying to do their bit to help fight for racial equality and reduce discrimination. It has brought on a global phenomenon that will help shape the future of tomorrow’s leaders. In this newsletter, we’ve highlighted some of the ways you can help make a difference.

Apply to the Youth Board and make a change!
At GT Scholars, we believe that it’s important for young people to have a platform where their voices can be heard. We’re currently taking applications for the Youth Board which will be made up of young ambassadors aged between 13 and 17. This is a great opportunity for young people who would like to have an impact on GT Scholars and how we approach our programmes. For more information on what it’s all about and how you can get involved. Click here

Please take this quick survey for parents!
GT Scholars works with diverse young people and parents and we recognise that we are in a unique position to help bring change in the world when it comes to diversity and equality. We’d love for you to share your ideas and suggestions so that we know how to best support our young people and parents. We’d love to hear from all parents. Please fill in this short survey so we know how best to make a lasting change for the future!

Temi’s article – 7 lessons for my black son (and any other young people)
Did you get a chance to read last week’s article? In this article, Our CEO and Founder, Temi Kamson shares her own experiences of discrimination as well as some of the difficult messages that many parents, like herself, have had to teach their children. Please take some time to read it, comment, and pass it on. It’s an article that is insightful and a must-read for all parents, regardless of your race. The article can be found here.

Friends of GT Scholars – Catch our latest scholar spotlight!

Friends of GT Scholars – Catch our latest scholar spotlight!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

It’s the weekend! Did you know that today, 56 years ago, one of the world’s most iconic figures, spent their first day of 27 years in prison? You guessed right – I’m talking about anti-apartheid activist, Nobel Prize winner and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Thanks to great people like him who chose to fight for equality in his time, we’ve moved forward but we still have a long way to go. The news and social media has been filled with so many tough stories to read but we believe that this change can and will happen.

An article from Temi Kamson
A lot of news has been about equality, anti-racism and also on social media, you might have noticed hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackoutTuesday. More people are speaking up about inclusion and sharing their personal experiences. Our founder & CEO, Temi Kamson decided to share her story in her latest article, 7 lessons to teach my black son (and any young black person).

Spotlight on one of our scholars on the Headstart programme – Ameer
Recently I had the pleasure to interview one of our scholars, Ameer who’s currently in year 8 and on our Head Start programme. Ameer is a very talented young man and aspires to become a computer scientist or lawyer in the future. Ameer said “My tutor was very supportive of me. He was relaxed but serious when teaching me. I really enjoyed it!” His mom also shares her experience with us as a parent. You can read their story here.

Support for Volunteer Mentors!
We would like to give a big thank you to all the volunteers who worked on creating and updating our new mentoring worksheets. We will be sharing this with all our mentors shortly. If you’ve been a mentor with us or just signed up, be sure to read our latest mentoring blog which includes great tips to start off and have a great mentoring experience. You can read the full blog by following this link. 

Have a great week!

Marilyn van Heerden

Friends of GT Scholars – A response to #BlackoutTuesday from Temi Kamson

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

I hope that you’ve had a fantastic week? This week, social media and the news has been filled with stories about #BlackoutTuesday, anti-racism, and the black experience. As a non-profit with a black founder CEO, a diverse team, diverse volunteers and a diverse board, working with young people from diverse backgrounds, we’re so glad that more people are opening up to conversations about race and inclusion! This week features a must-read blog from Temi Kamson – GT Scholars Founder & CEO.

7 lessons to teach my black son (any young black person)
#BlackoutTuesday was definitely a day to remember! The whole world was talking about race and equality and there was definitely a buzz in the air – Many companies have pledged their re-commitment to stamping out racism. Our CEO, Temi, has put together a heartfelt blog where she shares her personal experiences of inequality, speaks out about race, and offers some tips for anyone who wants to support more black people and be more anti-racist. It’s definitely a piece that’s worth reading and will linger in your thoughts long after reading it. You might need to grab a cup of tea but I promise that it’ll be worth the read. You can find the full blog by following this link.

Have you seen our Thank You Wall lately?
We continue to receive amazing feedback from our scholars and their parents on how our volunteers changed their lives. This is what one of our parents had to say “My son’s tutor, Alison, is really patient with him and he is feeling that the sessions are really helpful. Even when he was out of the country for a while his tutoring sessions have allowed him to catch up.” – Debbiesha. You can read more about what the parents and young people had to say here.

12 Tips for Volunteer Tutors!
Volunteering as an online tutor with GT Scholars can be a great and rewarding experience for both the tutor and the tutee. Whether you are an experienced online tutor with GT Scholars or just getting started, we’ve put together some great tips to ensure your tutoring sessions kick off smoothly. These tips will help you make your sessions impactful, and allow you to build a great relationship with your tutee and their parents. Read the full blog by following this link.

Have a great week!

Marilyn van Heerden

A mother and son interview on their experience on the Headstart Programme

A mother and son interview on their experience on the Headstart Programme

Parents Scholar spotlight What's new?

Interview with scholar Ameer 

Please tell me a little bit more about yourself, what do you do for fun?
My name is Ameer and I’m 13 years old. For fun, I like to play football, play games on my Xbox and go to the library as I really enjoy reading.

Do you know which career field you would like to go into one day?
I’m really interested in the computer science field as well as the legal field and I’m considering either studying to become a computer scientist or a lawyer.

You have been on the GT scholars programme for a few terms already, what did you enjoy the most during your time on the programme?
One of the things I enjoyed most on the programme was the Coding day that was hosted at Google Centre in London. I got to see the Google building and meet other young people who are also interested in and enjoy computing. I also made a few friends who I saw at other events. 

What were your highlights during the programme?
Learning how to code has definitely been a highlight for me. I’m really interested in pursuing a career in computer science, so learning about coding was really something I enjoyed doing.

Which skill-building day did you enjoy the most?
The day I enjoyed the most was where we were taught how to create our own CV. The office we went to was impressive and the people we met were enthusiastic about what they do and they also enjoyed interacting with young people.

Why did you decide to join GT scholars?
Before I joined GT Scholars, I was really struggling with maths. I joined in order to get some help with that, and I was assigned a tutor to help me improve on my maths grades.

You have been matched with a tutor for a few terms, how did your Maths improve?
My maths grades have improved drastically. I can understand concepts and work through problems that I could not do before I got the help from the tutor. I also improved on my examination grade. I am very pleased about this and so is my Mum.

Did you feel more confident in your Maths?
Yes, I do feel more confident in my maths abilities. Maths feels more relevant now as it felt very random before.

Have you seen any other changes during your time on the Head Start programme? What impact has it had on you?
I can definitely see a change, and my Mum says she can too. I think I am less shy than I was before and even when I do feel shy, I still try and engage with other students and adults. I am much more confident now! 

Did you improve on your other subjects as well during your time on the Headstart Programme?
Yes, I have improved all round. My English, History, Science, and Geography grades have increased by about 10 points and I have been finding it a lot easier for me to concentrate.

You were part of the team of young people who lead the activities at our last volunteer meetup, tell me a little bit more about that?
During this meetup, another young person and I had to deliver ice breaker questions to a group of adults who were thinking of becoming volunteers at GT Scholars. I had to stand up in front of them and speak, which was scary at first but I enjoyed it.

Were you nervous before the meetup or did you feel you had the confidence to do something like that? Was it the first time that you had to talk to a big group of people?
I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there, but it was fun. My Mum was really proud of me as it was something I have never done before.

If you could pick one thing, what do you think was the best thing that your tutor has taught you?
My maths tutor, Toby, taught me that maths is not something to be scared of and that if I don’t worry about it, I can learn something that can also be fun.

What made you decide to enrol in an online tutoring programme instead of a face to face programme?
I am currently homeschooled and don’t have melatonin, so sleeping for me is very difficult. I am not really a morning person, so my Mum arranged for my classes to start a little later in the mornings. Online is better for me because of the time of the sessions, which work well and is convenient for me and my tutor.

Did you feel you were able to connect with your tutor even though he was online? Tell me more about your online sessions, what was it like?
I have been able to connect with all my tutors even though the sessions are online, I don’t find it difficult at all. It is easy to talk about the work and with the whiteboard, I can demonstrate what I want to say which helps us understand each other better.

What would you tell young people who would like to join the GT Scholars programme?
I would tell young people that it is a really good way to learn, they will be relaxed and be able to learn in the comfort of their home. There’s no travelling involved so you don’t waste any time and you can get started with your lesson immediately. When your lesson is finished, you can do what you like because you are already home which is really convenient.

 

Interview with parent Sharon Laidley

Was there anything specific about GT Scholars that made you decide to join us?
I was drawn to the programme because it is a student and parent focused organisation that offered busy parents and students quality online education at an affordable price. 

From your point of view, what impact do you think the tutoring sessions have had on Ameer?
He is quite a friendly person but can be very shy and not one to initiate or contribute to a conversation unless prompted. The one to one sessions have helped him to gain confidence in communicating. Asking questions when he is unsure has helped him to become a better troubleshooter. 

With the Covid-19 phase that we are in at the moment, I guess it has not impacted Ameer’s schooling because Ameer has been homeschooled. Has there been any change in your study routine? How are you and how are you coping with that?
There has not been any real change in the study routine. We’ve been homeschooling since January 2019, so we feel pretty organised with the help of Home Education groups and forums. Ameer is really enjoying it, although he is missing our lengthy visits to the park and museums. These are great environments to learn in. 

Have you seen any changes in your normal routine with regards to education and online learning during this time or has it stayed normal?
It has pretty much stayed the same. Although, the learning duration has lengthened by about one and a half hours during weekdays. 

Now that everyone is homeschooling with the current situation, how do you feel about that?
It’s an encouraging position for parents and students. It allows for both to understand they have more control and learning can be fun, relevant and personal. 

As a parent how did you find interacting with the tutors?
Thankfully, the matching process made it super easy for Ameer and I to interact with great tutors, who love what they do and are willing to share their knowledge. 

Do you feel that GT Scholars was supportive throughout the term?
As a parent, I always feel supported by GT Scholars. They are only a phone call or email away and always assists with prompt and helpful responses. They go above and beyond expectations. I feel as though I am liaising with an organisation that values young people and their family.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents?
I would recommend GT Scholars and have done so to many other parents.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I love the ethos and ethics of the company and I am glad for the impact they are having on Ameer’s life; and if he’s happy, then I am happy!

In The Know: Teaching young people about equality

In The Know: Teaching young people about equality

In The Know Parents What's new?

This week has been all about race and equality. It’s been on social media and in the news and we’re so pleased that more people are talking about this. One of the reasons that we exist at GT Scholars, is because we want to see more young people empowered to make the world a better and more equal place. We want young people to learn about their rights, how they should be treated and how they should interact and treat young people, regardless of background and culture.  A world where equality is a reality is possible if we all play our part in creating awareness. This week we’ve listed some opportunities for young people to get involved in the bigger picture.

Write to your Member of Parliament
A simple, easy and direct way for young people to get their message through, is to write to a Member of Parliament. By doing this, young people can get directly involved in actions that can have a positive impact on equality and shape their future. Make sure to do your research and ensure that your letter is relevant to your area. Express your views and concerns and make suggestions on what Parliament can do to improve equality. To get started click here.

Raise awareness of equality
ThoughtCo has a list of great books on equality that can open young people’s minds to a world that most people don’t talk about. Since inequality is something that we are not born with, it is vital for young people to create their own opinion. When we look at inequality from another person’s experience, we can directly understand the reality of inequality in our world.  Most books are under £10 and are suitable for young people aged 12 and up. For the list of books click here

Teach young people about tolerance!
Teaching Tolerance is home to a great selection of free resources, lesson plans, webinars and podcast that can be used to teach young people about being tolerant. This site offers guidance by learning specialists and experienced educators within the Teaching Tolerance community. This is a great way to enhance the personal development of young people. To get access to free webinars and more click here.

9 Quick Tips for New Volunteer Mentors Joining one of our online Mentoring Programmes

9 Quick Tips for New Volunteer Mentors Joining one of our online Mentoring Programmes

Volunteers What's new?

Our scholars always tell us that their Volunteer Mentors have a huge impact on their progress. When you dedicate yourself to have a positive impact on someone else’s life, to help them grow and achieve their academic goals, it’s not only helpful to the mentee, but it will also be a rewarding experience for you as the mentor! Before embarking in your role as a mentor, have a look at these tips we’ve put together for volunteer mentors.

1. Contact the parents within 48hrs of receiving their details
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to contact your mentee’s parents within 48hrs of receiving their contact details, they’ll be expecting your call. During the first call, you’ll discuss the goals they have for your mentee, learn a bit more about them, and decide when your first tutoring session will take place.

2. Always have some form of face-to-face meeting
It would be great to have your first meeting in-person, but we do know that it’s not always possible if you and your mentee do not live close to one another. The most important thing to remember is to always have some form of face-to-face interaction. If it’s difficult for you to meet in person, then making use of video call applications such as Google Hangouts, Whatsapp video call, Skype, or FaceTime is a great alternative! Building a good relationship with your mentee and parents is important, and face-to-face meetings will allow you to build mutual trust, respect, and also ensure that your relationship starts well. All meetings must have a parent/carer present and meetings should be a safe space where challenges and difficult situations can be discussed openly. As a mentor, you would want to always be mindful of our mentoring values and try to be as flexible as possible when setting up the sessions.

3. Encourage your sessions to be mentee-led
Encourage your mentoring sessions to be mentee-led, so that you can understand what your mentee’s needs are. You won’t know the challenges your mentee faces, or the support he or she needs unless they open up and share their views and thoughts with you. Having a session where you let your mentee lead the conversation or even the entire session, you will be a sounding board and your mentee will be able to discover and understand their areas of improvement. This will also help them to be more self-aware and have a better understanding of how they can achieve their future goals.

4. Never arrange mentoring sessions directly with your mentee
Make sure to always set up all your mentoring sessions with the parents and not directly with your mentee. You could set up a 3-way WhatsApp group between you, the parent, and the mentee. This will be helpful so that everyone is up to date and aware of the dates & times of your planned sessions. If the parent insists on contacting their child directly, please notify us and we can talk to the parent about this.

5. Use the resources
We’ll provide you with mentoring worksheets to support you in deciding on topics you’d like to discuss with your mentee. You are welcome to expand on this to make it more focussed on your mentee’s interests and areas in which your mentee would like to learn & grow. You may want to take some time to discuss this with your mentee to decide on topics and themes for your sessions together. You can also make use of our learning directory for more ideas and tools to make your sessions engaging.

6. Read the Mentor Volunteer Handbook
Before you have your first session, take some time to read through the mentoring handbook. The handbook will give you a good idea of what to expect and guide you to have a good start. Here you will find information regarding how to provide session feedback, do’s and don’t, safeguarding, and also tips and ideas for your mentoring term.

7. Complete your mentor log
Take a few minutes to complete the mentor log after each session so that we can stay up to date on how things are going and how many sessions have taken place. This will also be helpful to you so that you can plan your next session, keep track of the progress that you have made, and key areas that you want to continue to focus on.

8. Attend at least one enrichment day
By attending an enrichment day you will have the opportunity to interact and connect with your mentee as well as other young people on the programme. Our Annual Careers Day workshop is the perfect way to get involved and help your mentee plan for the future. Attending an enrichment day would be a valuable and interactive experience that you will both be able to enjoy.

9. End of term
All end-of-term reports should be completed so that we can wrap up the end of term.  A mentor-mentee relationship can have a life long effect on both the mentor and the mentee’s life and being a mentor can be rewarding and can help develop your career, as well as that of your mentee. Once your sessions are completed, make sure that you give your mentee closure, so that the mentee is aware that the relationship has now come to an end. If they are continuing on with the programme to next term, they will normally tell you this in advance. But please do not continue mentoring sessions into the new term. Once the term has ended, we will get in touch with you to share the details of the new term. Feel free to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns.

Friends of GT Scholars – Check out the latest scholar spotlight!

Friends of GT Scholars – Check out the latest scholar spotlight!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

It’s the weekend! It’s been a great week with a bank holiday on Monday and we’ve ended the week with blue skies and sunshine! I really hope that the weather stays this way all weekend and it’s the start of a great summer – we all need it! Here is this week’s newsletter!

Spotlight on one of our scholars on the Headstart Programme – Priscilla
Our latest scholar spotlight interview was with one of our scholars who’s currently in year 11 and was on our Headstart Programme last term. Priscilla is an ambitious young lady with great plans for the future. She is aspiring to become a lawyer one day and she talks about how her Maths and English tutors have helped her to achieve her academic goals and the impact being on the GT Scholars programme has had on her. Read her full interview by following this link.

Could you facilitate an online workshop?
As some of you might already know, we’re in the process of moving our workshops online. At the moment we’re looking for facilitators that can help us to run these workshops online. The workshop topics will range from coding, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and growth-mindset. If you have workshop facilitating experience or you know of someone who would like to get involved, please let me know.

Virtual Roadshow – Can you arrange an introduction?
As part of our new upcoming online programme, we are looking to form new connections with companies that have a global outlook. We’re in the process of setting up a “Virtual Roadshow” and we would like to meet with companies that are interested in helping young people, to explain to them how they can get involved. If you know someone within your company that is responsible for CSR and you can help with setting up an introduction, please get in touch!


Have a fantastic weekend!

 

Marilyn van Heerden

In The Know: Live virtual events for young people

In The Know: Live virtual events for young people

In The Know Parents What's new?

With the weekend coming up, everyone is looking for something fun and interesting to do, where young people can still learn and develop new skills. This week we have lined up 3 live virtual events that young people can attend from the comfort of your own home. Read on to find out more.

Virtual Chef-led Cook-Along
Wecook chef Anthea is inviting you to join her as she’s cooking up a storm in her kitchen. Her recipes are beginner-friendly and you can easily find the ingredients from your local store. Once you have registered, the list of ingredients will be sent to you. Join her this weekend, Saturday 30 May 2020 at 2pm for a live session and learn to whip up an interesting and delicious meal. To sign up, click here

#BeActive Hour – Live Workout with Bear Grylls
This is the first of a series hosted by Ukactive, leading up to National Fitness Day on 23rd September 2020. There will be free online workouts led by sporting and fitness icons which you and your family can participate in from the comfort of your own home. The best part is that it’s free. The first BeActive hour will run every Saturday at 4pm and will be led by adventurist Bear Grylls. To register, sign up here

Virtually London: online theatre shows
Even though the theatres are closed during lockdown, there are a few ways you can still enjoy your much loved theatre shows. Virtually London hosts a variety of great shows to choose from, from Shakespeare to comedy, there’s definitely something for everyone. The virtual shows run weekly and you can choose from a great selection of free shows.  To tune in click here

In The Know – Homeschooling tools for parents and young people!

In The Know – Homeschooling tools for parents and young people!

Homeschooling In The Know Parents What's new?

Homeschooling is now a reality for most families and parents and young people need to work together to make sure they stay up to date with study schedules and milestones. With a lot of learning resources out there and still having to make sure you’re in sync with the curriculum, things can get a bit challenging at times. Thank goodness there are apps out there to help you streamline things. Have a look at these awesome tools to help you with all things homeschooling.

Manage and track your study time!
Clockify is a free easy to use app that allows parents to get an overview of how to best plan and spend their time. This app also allows you to track how much your child spends on schoolwork and free time and you can even log the tracked time for different tasks and subjects. Even more, Clockify also suggests how to automate or speed up some processes and track your progression over a certain time period. For more information click here.

Gamify your learning with Habitica!
Habitica is a fun interactive app young people can use to stay on top of their assignments and tasks. The apps turns everyday tasks into interactive challenges where young people get to build and upgrade their avatar with each completed task. You can also compete with each other making this a fun family activity. Habitica can be downloaded on your phone making it an easy, on-the-go way of keeping track of tasks and learning assignments. To find out more click here.

Simplify homeschooling with Homeschool Panda
Homeschool Panda is an all-in-one tool that offers parents support to make homeschooling easier. It offers quick and easy lesson plans that allow parents to track and report their kids learning activities. The app also includes a safe and secure portal for students to easily track their lessons and assignments. What’s also great is that it provides a network for parents who homeschool where they can chat with other parents that are online and share ideas or activities. Sign up here!