Empowering Girls: How to Become a Mentor for Girls

Image of a woman holding a folder. The text is a Confucius quote that reads "The (wo)man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my stories a few weeks ago where I was invited to the launch event for the 2024 Empowering Girls Programme in Exeter. I wasn’t aware of the programme until it was pointed out to me by the Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Careers Hub. But as soon as I learnt about it I knew this was something I wanted to get involved with.

Mentoring for Girls

The programme was founded in 2019 and currently supports year 9 girls (age 13-14) in schools in Exeter. It is designed to allow them to explore their future potential, build confidence and develop aspirations.

To run this programme, Empowering Girls works with an amazing group of women from a range of businesses across the city. These women volunteer as mentors for the girls. The programme enables the girls to build a one-on-one relationship with a role model that can help them reach their potential.

The programme has grown from strength to strength and has attracted funding enabling the team to offer additional activities to schools. The aim is now to grow the network of mentors, allowing them to reach a wider cohort of schools and girls all across Devon, Plymouth & Torbay.

Could You Be a Mentor for Girls?

The word mentor has certain connotations for many of us that make us question whether we are “good enough”, or “successful enough” or “know enough” to fulfil that role. I certainly had a very skewed idea of what a mentor is (think middle-aged white man in a suit who has founded and then sold multiple start-ups making millions in the process). You can read about my struggle with semantics here.

But in essence, mentoring is a protected relationship which supports learning and experimentation and helps individuals develop their potential. That’s not so daunting, is it?

Most of us have valuable experience to share, are we’re more than capable of offering support, guidance and feedback that could help someone to thrive. So the answer to this question is yes you could be a mentor…if you wanted to be.

What is Required of a Mentor for Girls?

For the Empowering Girls programme, the key aims are:

  1. Shatter stereotypes and instil self-belief, a positive mindset and positive language
  2. Introduce girls to female role models within a wide range of industries and sectors
  3. Inspire and challenge girls to pursue their ambitions with confidence
  4. Give girls access to knowledge, tools, skills and support to overcome their barriers to success

To do this, mentors are required to agree to the following:

  • Commit to a minimum of 6 weeks/6 sessions
  • Attend an induction and undertake preparation work for mentoring sessions
  • Undertake mentoring programme, including any safeguarding training as agreed with the school.
  • Provide pre and post-mentoring feedback.
  • Where availability allows, support group sessions and workplace visits.

Why Be a Mentor for Girls?

We are all qualified to be mentors, but why should we consider it? The programme is designed to support those girls who are perhaps flying under the radar. They aren’t the high achievers who already have support, a network, role models and opportunities. It’s the ones who have potential but don’t have the framework to explore it or fulfil it. They don’t have access to the right people who can help draw them out and figure out what they want for their lives and what is possible for them.

When I was at secondary school trying to work out what career I wanted to pursue the advice I received was limited, to say the least. Go to University was the only option suggested. I was lucky that I already knew what I loved and what I was good at so it was a clear choice for me. But many of my friends hadn’t figured it out and had no idea where to even start. It can be really lonely when you can’t see where you’re heading and maybe it feels like so many roads are closed to you.

Teaching What We’ve Learnt

As women, we are on a magnificent journey right now. We’ve come such a long way. We are waking up to a new way of being in the world and we are taking charge of our own destiny. We’ve discovered that we have options, we can pursue our dreams and we are more capable than we ever realised back when we were in year 9.

It’s taken us half a lifetime to work all this out. Now we are doing our best to unravel the conditioning we’ve been exposed to. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to equip these young girls with the knowledge we have fought so hard to learn so that they can use it to improve their options and believe that they are capable of creating a life that fulfils them? Imagine getting that kind of head start!

What if we could have given our year 9 selves the knowledge that we have now? How powerful would that be?

If you want to be part of the movement that reaches back down the ladder and gives the next generation of girls a lift up, maybe you should be a mentor for girls.

Want More Info?

If you’d like some more information about becoming a mentor for the Empowering Girls programme and helping the team to extend this important support throughout Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, please drop me an email to stacey@thetribecoworking.co.uk

I will forward you all the information I have received from the team and put you in touch with them directly.

I do hope you are as excited as me about this opportunity to change the future, one girl at a time!

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