Why did you decide to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
When I became a mother and started to think about the bumpy road to adulthood my daughter was facing, I wanted to be as best prepared as I could in order to support her on that journey. When I came across Rites for Girls and realized I could be a source of support for a lot of other girls too, I knew this was the right path for me. In preparation for my Girls Journeying Together facilitator training, I decided to become a Girls’ Net mentor so I could start this important work straight away because girls need us now more than ever.
What does your Girls’ Net Mentor role involve?
For six weeks, I hold a weekly 1¼ hour online session with a small group of same-aged girls. We cover several topics with the aim to help the girls cope with the stresses of being a (pre)teen and to help them realize they are resilient and capable even if they don’t always feel that way. Most important to me is that the girls feel safe and included and that they can share without judgment.
Describe a typical day for you, on a day you’re running a Girls’ Net session?
I’ll probably be woken up early by my one-year-old daughter, who I’ll then run after for the rest of the day. I try to navigate the day-to-day chaos at home and always make time to go outside, even if it’s just in our garden. Whilst my daughter naps, I go over my notes for the Girls’ Net session for that evening and set up my space. I like having plants in the room and make sure I’ve got extra lighting. I update Zoom, make sure my laptop is plugged in and send a reminder email with our session’s link to the girls’ parents an hour before we start. Once everyone is fed, clean and in bed, I take a moment to turn my attention inside, calm myself and get in the right mind-set before welcoming the girls to Girls’ Net.
What challenges have you had to overcome in doing this role?
Juggling Girls’ Net and motherhood has not always been easy, especially planning the sessions’ dates and times and staying on top of all the admin. On a personal level, as a perfectionist, I’ve had to learn it’s okay to make mistakes and doing my best is enough. I’ve also realized that the girls’ don’t need me to fix their problems; listening and holding a safe space for them to share is often what they need most.
What would you say to someone looking into training to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
Go for it! You don’t need specific qualifications, you don’t need to be a mother, and you don’t need lots of previous work experience. All you need is to be yourself, and to have a passion for the work, and the 3-month training does all the rest. It’s an intense training that needs a lot of commitment but within a couple of months you can start making a difference in a girl’s life, which is incredibly rewarding.
What have you gained from this experience?
How many pages do we have? The list is long but I guess you could narrow it down to three things. I’ve gained confidence as a parent, I’ve gained personal growth and most importantly, I’ve gained a purpose in life – one that’s meaningful, fulfilling and worth getting up early for.