The main goal of our Guardian Angel programme is to prepare a child, who is in care or relies on crisis centers for support, to succeed in independent life by providing mentors and tutors. Our Coordinator, Natalya Krushelnytska who has a background in education, explains:
“Children can’t learn well when they’re stressed. We’ve learned that we need to take a holistic approach and start with mentoring. When a child has a stable and supportive role model in their life then tutoring can help a child to improve their education.
"Most of us have had significant people who have influenced our values and choices at different stages in life: parents, teachers, managers. They may have been advisers, defenders or simply friends when we needed them. The role of our mentors combines all of these functions.”
For Maria, who lives in a children’s home, her mentor has made a real difference. When Maria’s mentor first tried to help with school work, Maria just wanted to talk. Maria found it hard to focus and had trouble with reading. Her mentor learned that Maria needed a friend and a stable and supportive person in her life.
Maria’s mentor gives personal support when they meet every week, and once they had a good relationship she was able to find three volunteer tutors to join our programme and help. Maria has now improved her Ukrainian literacy as well as maths and English. We provided a laptop so Maria can be tutored online, and will provide a phone for regular communication.
Some mentors help children deal with the effects of bullying, and others with developing career goals or useful skills. Mentors arrange new experiences and help to build confidence and self-esteem.
“As a mentor my goal is simply to help Angela realise that she is not alone, that she can address any question and I will listen and support her. Angela is ambitious and I will do what I can to help with what she needs. We will often draw, sew or just dream together and I feel lucky that I have become a friend for her. Everyone needs someone who will accept them as they are and encourage them to succeed.”
The government has a policy that every child in care should have a mentor, and we help to achieve this goal. Every mentor goes through a three day training and does background checks before they are qualified to start. We have 14 new mentors qualified who will be starting soon and are working in partnership with other volunteer organisations and institutions to increase the number of children we help.
With monthly meetings where a therapist can give advice, we maintain a high standard for both mentors and children. Now that events are allowed again we are organising a fun activity day for all the mentors, tutors and children to compliment the progress they are making together.
If you would like to help, as a mentor, tutor or donor, we’ll be happy to hear from you!