Why did you decide to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
Having already trained as a Girls Journeying Facilitator but not yet been able to start a group, I felt that Girls’ Net would be a way of giving something to girls at this particular moment in time. I also felt that an online offering was perfect for now, as we have all become so used to working online. It also meant that girls who still needed to isolate would get an opportunity to do something with other girls. In a more general sense, getting involved with Rites for Girls felt like something I was called to do. I have always felt passionate about equality and finding an opportunity to help level some of that through building girls up felt like an incredible gift. I feel very proud to be part of Rites for Girls and to be doing this work.
What does your Girls’ Net Mentor role involve?
As a Mentor, I feel very privileged to be able to come into girls’ lives, for a brief period of time, to help them see that they have everything they need inside of them; to help them develop the skills they already have to get them through all the times ahead, be they difficult, happy, sad or just ordinary. I love watching the girls on this journey, starting to see this for themselves. It’s like magic!
Describe a typical day for you, on a day you’re running a Girls’ Net session?
Well it always starts with the alarm clock! I then rouse my teenage daughters with the promise of a hot chocolate once they’re downstairs. They set off to school and college while I start my list of tasks for the day, usually longer than my arm and never entirely ticked off. At some point during the day I will get some fresh air and stretch my legs. This gives me time to listen to my recorded notes for the Girls’ Net session I’ll be running that evening. When I return home I will take time to go over my written notes for the session, carefully checking I feel confident with the content. I will then set up my space – I have an armchair I sit in, with my laptop perched at the right height and the lighting just so. Once my daughters are home, we’ll have some early supper together so that I have plenty of time to prepare for the session. An hour before the session I will text the parents, just a gentle nudge to remind them that we’ll be starting soon, and I’ll make sure I have everything I need gathered by my side – my list of girls, my water, my notes on the screen and Zoom set up. During that last hour, I like to take a moment to ground myself. I take some deep breaths and get ready to welcome my group of girls.
What challenges have you had to overcome in doing this role?
I have had some technical difficulties which have been challenging and I have made many mistakes! But that’s okay; I have learnt from them. Finding a suitable evening and time has also been difficult because life is busy.
What would you say to someone looking into training to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
Do it! Do it for you and do it for the girls. It isn’t just training, it’s life changing. It will challenge you, at times it might frustrate you, it will fill you with joy and open your heart… but most of all it will prepare you to do some of the most important work you’ll ever do. Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved – it is time consuming and hard, but worth every minute.
What have you gained from this experience?
Gosh! Now there’s a question! The training gave me confidence and challenged some of the long held negative beliefs I had about myself. It helped me explore myself in ways I didn’t know I needed to. It opened my heart. The work itself has been a revelation. After the first session, I realised that I am now doing the work that I was put on this planet to do. It feels like home. I have gained a feeling of peace and I am much more trusting that things will work out okay, even if it doesn’t feel like that in the moment. This too shall pass…