Case Study: Young Mentors

This case study describes the experience of two young people who took on leadership roles within the Social Impact Programme (SIP) in their school.

Case Study: Young Mentors

This case study describes the experience of two young people who took on leadership roles within the Social Impact Programme (SIP) in their school.

At Lochend High School, SIP members had the opportunity to become Young Mentors. This entailed supporting the Social Impact Officers (SIO) with delivering aspects of the programme and gaining experience that will help them in the future. Two of the pupils that we spoke to had taken up this opportunity and described their experience and what it had led to for them.

What they did

Young Mentors worked alongside the SIO to deliver basketball sessions as part of the SIP. They managed younger students and planned and led warm-ups, drills and skills training. They assisted in the delivery of the mental health sessions, working alongside the SAMH facilitator to keep younger pupils engaged and focused. Young Mentors also delivered a basketball session in local primary schools, to introduce primary pupils to the sport and develop their skills.

What they gained

The Young Mentors that we spoke to expressed that their confidence had changed beyond measure since they took on the role. They had both been involved in the SIP through S1-S3, and had built up some confidence through that experience. Being a Young Mentor augmented the growth in their confidence, such that they felt their old selves were hardly recognisable.

“Before I started, I wasn’t really a confident person, but since I’ve become [a Young Mentor] my confidence has just grown and grown.”

For one Young Mentor, taking on this role changed her perspective of herself and what she was capable of. She gained self-belief from the positive feedback of the delivery partners, and the experience of delivering coaching sessions and other tasks successfully.

“Being involved in this has really built me up to be a completely different person and I wouldn’t have thought I had it in me.”

Their experience has led to them forming strong support networks within the school, including with the SIO, the PE department, and other staff members from partner organisations who are involved in the SIP or additional support in the school generally. Young Mentors found that they had more people to go to in the school to ask for support or advice and expressed that the experience had made them feel seen and recognised for what they were capable of throughout the school. Their place within the school felt more established as a result. They attributed this to the SIO spending time to get to know them, highlighting their individual strengths, and giving them the opportunity to develop them.

The Young Mentors also recognised that they had become part of the support networks that the younger pupils benefitted from, and that this contributed to their own sense of pride and self- worth.

“It feels amazing to know that the younger pupils are looking up to you as a role model – that proud feeling is out of this world.”

The Young Mentors described how they responded to the increased responsibility of their roles, and how it helped them to develop maturity, which was reflected in their day-to-day behaviour and attitudes.

“I used to be quite a loud kid, but doing this has forced me to be a bit more mature.”

They also acquired skills related directly to basketball, and more generalisable competencies. They mentioned planning sessions, delivering coaching, and managing groups of young people in a classroom setting. These experiences contributed to their Duke of Edinburgh award, and they both gained coaching qualifications as a result of being a Young Mentor.

One of the Young Mentors informed us that this role had led to her gaining a job with basketballscotland once she graduates from high school. She reflected that she had applied and been accepted to the army, but after her experiences as a Young Mentor she considered that she had more potential than would be used in the army, and had set herself different ambitions. Thanks to the support of the SIO, she won a community champion award at the City Chambers.

For both Young Mentors, their interactions and conversations with the SIO had opened their eyes to opportunities that existed which they otherwise wouldn’t have known about, at the same time as giving them the skills, experience, motivation and self-confidence to aim for them.

“My family is in construction, but [being a Young Mentor] means I’ve got another option.”

“This is going to take me somewhere.”