A typical day as a mentor can range from endless phone calls from clients who are in a cloud of chaos to prison visits with women on remand or sentenced.
You can organise your diary and it can all change in the matter of one phone call. Appointments to doctors, pharmacy, court, benefits, children's panels, job centre its endless and yet you have the strength to empower women a little bit more.
Most women who come through the Shine Mentoring programme are well known to the Criminal Justice System and therefore it can be a challenge to work with them as they have had several workers (Social workers, drug workers, lawyers, etc.) all of whom have promised to help change their lives and yet in comes another worker. You have to have compassion, be non-judgemental, good listening /communication skills, not promise them anything but make them understand that you will support the decisions that they have chosen even if we feel they may not always be the right choices, and last but not least appreciate that although they very much want to change their current lifestyle, the powers from peers/family may not allow this to happen.
A "Women's Drop-in" on a Wednesday provides a wide range of activities, talks and quiet time for the women to get involved in. Friday we have a cooking/baking class on offer for women to brush up on their skills and also to support meals on a budget.
There are also opportunities for women to come to the Magazine group where clients come and put a magazine together about stories of the journeys they have taken, stories that have changed their lives, groups they have attended and much more.
A day in a life of a mentor is challenging, chaotic but also rewarding, powerful and shows strength in women of today.