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!

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

Friends of GT Scholars – Online volunteering opportunities and support!

Friends of GT Scholars – Online volunteering opportunities and support!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

Friends of GT Scholars –  Online volunteering opportunities and support!


Happy Friday! Hope you’re having a good day? We’ve been busy getting started with the new term. Right now, innovation and thinking out the box is a must and no one knows when life will return to normal! Over the past few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time brainstorming ideas on how we can pivot and still support young people at this crucial time in their lives. Made you curious? Keep an eye out for more information in the next couple of weeks. But for now, here’s this week’s newsletter.


Join our online meetups for volunteers!
We’re not sure when next we’ll all get to meet in person but thank goodness for Zoom! We’re planning to run monthly online meetups for all volunteers! Whether you are a new volunteer or you’ve volunteered with us for a few months or years, you’re more than welcome to join! During the meet-ups, we’ll run a short Q&A for new volunteers, we’ll also have some time for volunteers and members of our team to give advice and share their experiences. The first session is planned for mid-June and I’ll keep you posted with the details. If you’d like to co-host a session or be on our panel of speakers please get in touch!

Can you help us improve our mentoring worksheets!
We’re updating our mentoring worksheets, adding impactful coaching and mentoring questions to the sheets and providing mentees and volunteer mentors with more information, checklists and exercises to help with mentoring sessions. Thank you to everyone who confirmed their availability. We’ve scheduled an online meeting for Wednesday 20th May from 4pm-5pm. If you’d like to join us for the meeting or have mentored with us before and have an idea of topics that you think will make a great addition to our current worksheets, please let me know.

Check out the *NEW* Online Learning Directory!
If you’ve signed up to tutor with us this term or thinking about volunteering as an online tutor then you definitely need to visit the new GT Scholars learning director! This directory hosts more than 250 free learning websites for young people aged 4-18. You can easily narrow down your online resource search by filtering content by age and subject. There are lots of lesson types to choose from, including interactive stories, lessons, games, activities and revision videos. You can visit The Learning Directory by following this link.

Friends of GT Scholars –  Thank you for your help this term!

Friends of GT Scholars – Thank you for your help this term!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

Friends of GT Scholars –  Thank you for your help this term!


Ahh….. Friday you wonderful thing! Even though most of us are working from home, the weekend still has that special feeling that it brings! If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, go check out Social Distant.Co set up by Tony, a friend of GT Scholars. They’ve got lots of fun online events that will get you moving and activities to get you meeting new people and spending more time with friends and family! But first, let me share this week’s newsletter with you.

 

Thank you for your help this term!
It’s the end of the term and we’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteer tutors and mentors for their help this term! Many of our volunteers this term had to juggle sudden changes in work arrangements alongside volunteering but they still showed up for the young people and the feedback has been great! I’d also like to thank everyone who’s helped in other ways like writing a guest blog, featuring in a volunteer spotlight or getting involved with crowdsourcing group projects! I feel privileged to be part of such a talented network!

Can you volunteer as an online tutor or mentor next term?
I’d like to find out if you’d be available to volunteer as an online tutor or mentor next term? I know some volunteers already confirmed their availability- thanks guys! If you’re interested in joining us next term as an online tutor, you’ll need about 1-hr a week to schedule weekly sessions with your tutee. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a volunteer mentor, you’ll need to be free for 6 hours during the 12-week term. The new term will start late April/early May so please let me know if you’d like to get involved by sending a quick email.

Could you help with creating NEW mentoring worksheets?
We have an upcoming short term volunteer opportunity that you can get involved with. We’re looking for 3-4 volunteers to help us with creating new mentoring worksheets! It’s the perfect volunteer project for you if you’ve ever coached or mentored young people before or have some ideas on how to support them with some of the challenges they face. If you have about 4-5 hours to spare and can join our crowdsourcing project meeting next week Wednesday or Thursday, please get in touch.



Have a fantastic weekend!

Friends of GT Scholars – Exciting event volunteer opportunities you can look forward to!

Friends of GT Scholars – Exciting event volunteer opportunities you can look forward to!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

Happy Friday! It’s raining again today and we’ve already really had our fair share of storms this year! Over the past few weeks we’ve had Storm Brendan, Ciara, Dennis and now on its way this weekend it’s Storm Jorge! Thankfully the day after tomorrow is officially the start of Spring and we’ve got a few exciting events lined up for you to get involved with!

Would you like to help out with our study skills workshop?
We’re looking for volunteers to help out at our ‘Annual Ready, Set, Go!’ workshop, which is a study skills workshop to help young people ace their exams. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet our scholars and interact with young people from a range of backgrounds, helping them with some skill-building activities. The workshop will take place on Saturday 14th March at Goldsmiths University and will run from 10am – 4pm. If you’re interested in getting involved please get in touch!

Upcoming Inspiring Future Leaders workshops
By now you might already be familiar with our new leadership programme, Inspiring Future Leaders. The programme focuses on helping young boys, between the ages of 12-14 overcome challenges, develop leadership skills and reach their aspirations. The programme includes 10 skill-building and enrichment sessions that take place during its 6-month run. If you’d like to help out at any of these workshops, please get in touch. For a full schedule on workshop and dates please click here.

Would you like to be a speaker at Careers Day 2020?
Would you like to be part of the panel of speakers at this year’s Careers Day? I’m busy planning the panel of speakers for the day and I’m looking for a few more volunteers from different backgrounds ie the financial sector, technology sector, legal sector and the medical sector. As a speaker, you’ll need to prepare a 2-3min talk sharing your career success story and informing young people and their parents about opportunities available to young people, you’ll also need to be available to be on the panel and answer questions from the young people. Thanks to everyone who’s already responded to state their interest! Please let me know if you’d like to get involved!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Friends of GT Scholars – Thank you for coming to the End of Year Celebration!!

Friends of GT Scholars – Thank you for coming to the End of Year Celebration!!

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

We’re nearly at the end of 2019!! It’s been a great year for GT Scholars and it’s been brilliant working with all of our amazing volunteers, workshop facilitators and friends! We had our end of year celebration on Wednesday night and as of today, it’s officially only 12 days til Christmas! Read on to find out how more about the evening and a few important dates.

Thank you for coming to the End of Year Celebration!
It was awesome to spend the evening with our volunteers, workshop facilitators and other friends of GT Scholars!! I was told that the young people did a brilliant job hosting the activities and there were some really competitive teams on the day! Once again thank you to everyone that was able to come along – It was great to have you there! We’re planning on having more meetups next year and as usual, I’ll keep you updated via the newsletter.

Is volunteering on the cards for you in 2020?
Can you believe 2020 is less than 3 weeks away?! We’ll be welcoming our new scholars in January 2020 and we want to make sure that we can match as many scholars as we can with a mentor and an English or Maths tutor. The new term will run from early January until mid-April 2020. If you’ve not confirmed your availability yet, please drop me a quick email. You can volunteer as a tutor for 1 hour a week or mentor for 6hrs during the term. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and finding you a match!

We’re closing for the festive season!
Everyone at GT Scholars will be taking a little break over the festive season! Please note that we’ll be closed from next week Friday 20th December, but we’ll be back, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the new year on Monday 6th of January. Please feel free to email or call us if you need to speak to us before we close for the holidays.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

Friends of GT Scholars –  Do you know any young people interested in coding?

Friends of GT Scholars – Do you know any young people interested in coding?

Friends of GT Scholars Volunteers

The weekend is almost here! I hope you’re having a great Friday so far and that the day will turn out to be a perfect start to your weekend. Today’s newsletter is really special to me because it marks the 100th newsletter to be published! Thanks for your continued support and for staying tuned! It’s been great getting the Friends of GT Scholars to your inbox every week!

Do you know any young people interested in coding?
For the first time ever, we’ve been able to offer more places on our skill building days by running the workshops on multiple days! We’ve got Google Academy London to thank for that!  We’ll be running a series of workshops next week during October half-term. These workshops will give young people the chance to learn new coding skills or build on their existing coding skills.  There are a few more spaces left for #GirlMeetsCode. If you know of a young girl between 11-16 who’d like to join us on Tuesday, 22nd October please get in touch with me, we have a special Friends of GT discount code she can use!

Event volunteers needed!
We’re looking for a few more event volunteers to help us at next week’s coding workshops at Google Academy. As an event volunteer, you’ll be helping by welcoming attendees, handing out workshop materials and helping with lunch arrangements. The first workshop, on Tuesday 22nd October, is a girls only event, followed by two more workshops on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th which are open to all young people. Workshops will run from 10am to 4pm and you can support for a full day or half day, depending on your availability. Please let me know if you can help on any of these days!

Kick off your first tutoring session with a bang!
This week marked the start of our second intake of scholars on the mentoring and tutoring programmes for this term. Out of over 250 applications that we received, we’ve been able to give 22 places to young people to some extremely talented and ambitious young people. If you’ve confirmed your availability you’ll soon hear from us with more information on scholar matches this term. If you’re already thinking of ideas to make your tutoring sessions fun, then this blog will definitely have a few ideas you can use and add to your tutoring sessions. 

Have a fantastic weekend!

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can make a significant difference in young people’s lives.