John’s Story

This is my first time mentoring. So far I have found the mentoring programme personally rewarding and would like to continue. It takes me out of my usual thinking patterns, putting myself in someone else’s shoes, trying to remember what it is like to be 17 again!

I feel mentoring is important for both mentor and mentee, particularly in our current climate and culture, in a world with so much information at your fingertips and a seeming myriad of choices and advice from ‘interested parties’, it feels good just to sit down together and simply talk. It sometime feels as if the media is supporting divisions in society and creating greater separation between young people and the older generation. Mentoring can help break down these barriers.  I hope and feel that as mentors we are trying to give impartial advice based on our experience and, as we hopefully grow ourselves, becoming better listeners and more reflective  This can help support the mentees to make good choices based on their own feelings and aspirations.

I feel that being part of One Million Mentors is helping me become a better listener. My natural instinct is to try and ‘jump in’ with help and solutions but I am working towards a more reflective approach where I am hoping the mentee can find for themselves what paths they want to pursue, with me acting as a sounding board, providing gentle guidance. Mentoring gives you an opportunity to put something back in, to help build a better, kinder, more supportive society – something I believe we all want. I would love to think that there is someone out there who my children could chat too if they can’t or don’t want to talk and listen to their parents, aunts and uncles, teachers, YouTube…. This can be the role of a mentor and I’ve stopped wishing someone else would do it and I have volunteered instead. Hopefully, when there is over a million mentors every young adult can have access to a mentor if they wish.

John Kelsey, Senior Planner, Urban Design and Conservation,
Growth and Neighbourhoods Directorate, Manchester City Council