Kemoy Walker, CEO of KYSO Trust

Kemoy will be mentoring again with One Million Mentors for the 2017-18 cohort at East Manchester Academy. Here is Kemoy’s account;

“I absolutely love mentoring. I have worked with a group of young women who are passionate about performing arts and we have written a song together. They were so excited to go home to tell their parents about what we had just worked on.

Mentoring is important because you are giving knowledge to young people about issues, before they become issues. The young people can learn from my mistakes through our discussions.

It is crucial to take time to build trust with them.  You mentor and through this they learn that they can trust you. In life, many of them have been let down at some point and you can support them to believe that not everyone they are going to meet will let them down.

As a mentor, you can create opportunities for them. For example, the young people I have mentored are interested in attending performing arts’ events. As I am part of many of these organisations and I have been able to provide them with free tickets. They wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise.

I believe the link between social action and mentoring is that as a mentor you are able to provide social action through conversations to channel their passion.  With the young people I have mentioned above, the social action is about performing arts and performing in front of their peers. It’s important to understand the young people’s needs and passions about a topic which is important to them.

Mentoring has taught me empathy, putting myself in my mentee’s shoes. A lot of young people don’t have role models. I am in a privileged position to support young people and support social action. An opportunity came up recently where we took 40 young people to a free concert to see Bugzy Malone.

It has to be small steps when building trust with young people. You cannot go into mentoring and think that the young people you will work with will be happy all the time. You listen to the young person to build that rapport.

With regards to mentoring young people, I haven’t come across any challenges yet. It depends on the person you are. I have an advantage because I work with young people and, in fact, they have been more excited as they know about me and my work.

The ongoing support from 1MM has been very consistent. The team messages me and provides opportunities.

What I would say to others who are considering mentoring with One Million Mentors is to grab the opportunity.  It is an invaluable experience. You are giving a young person an opportunity. I had provided the opportunity to the young person and now they are going home to tell their parents about their new song which they have just written during our mentoring session.”