Why did you decide to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
I decided to become a Girls’ Net Mentor because I could see the rising need in girls over the pandemic and I wanted to support them. I’m also a Girls Journeying Together facilitator, a longer in-person programme for girls aged 10-12. I am often asked for something for older and younger girls and the Girls’ Net programme is a great
What does your role involve?
I meet with small groups of same-age girls once a week on-line to hold a safe space for them to share. We explore different topics to help build the confidence to navigate the challenges of everyday modern life, and all of the changes that are happening at the moment.
We have partnered with West Sussex County Council who are providing places for girls in Girls’ Net, so I have been busy contacting Sencos, local schools and charities who can identify the girls who will benefit most from the funded places.
Describe a typical day for you, on a day you’re running a Girls’ Net session?
I go through my notes, check my technology is all working, and email the Girls’ Net session link for that evening, which also includes a link to an on-line Notebook that the girls create together. Then I go out for a walk in nature to ground myself. I let go of any tensions from my day, so I can show up and be fully present in the session. I listen to a play-list called ‘Soundtrack for my inner child’ which I created full of eighties music so I can connect with the girl inside me, which helps me really relate to the girls and what they bring.
What challenges have you had to overcome by doing this role?
I am an introvert and can be socially awkward, so I have had to learn to approach people and communicate with them about our work. I’m a technophobe, so I’ve been learning how to use all of the features on Zoom and instruct others how to use it; and also keeping track of all the admin.
I have worked with children my whole adult life, so connecting with them is the easy part!
What would you say to someone interested in training to be a Girls’ Net Mentor?
I would urge any women who has a longing to make a difference to girls’ lives to do this training, and particularly if you had a difficult time growing up yourself. The struggles your younger self had will help you relate to the girls and give them the support they need.
What have you gained from this experience?
I have really enjoyed connecting with the girls, and seeing them grow in confidence especially when they realise that we really mean it when we say they can show up and be accepted, just as they are. They show so much compassion for the each other, it is affirming to witness how wonderfully the group works.