How 17-year-old Jessie got her confidence back

Jessie is 17 and is a Hyde Housing resident in Stockwell. Jessie suffers from low self-esteem which has caused to her pass up on work and other opportunities. She’s been coming to BIGKID for a few years now so we encouraged her to join the mentoring programme. Sylvia works in PR at Hyde Housing and was keen to mentor Jessie. They usually meet once a month in cafés near to Jessie’s school.

“I like Syliva because she is encouraging, she is up to date, she knows what people my age are up to these days and tries to follow it. She understands what we are going through which makes it easier to talk to her. Someone else might not understand but she does.”

In the first few meetings Jessie and Sylvia agreed that they would work together to help Jessie grow her confidence especially when speaking to people she doesn’t know and in class. “Jessie told me that she got nervous even when talking to her friends which really struck me and I knew this was a key area for us to work on. I arranged for Jessie to complete her work experience week here at Hyde Housing as she didn’t have a placement arranged by her school.

Over 4 days, Jessie worked with the communcations, development and HR departments at the Lambeth office. “I especially enjoyed the comms team, working with the social media side of things. They said that if I wanted to go back I could have an apprenticeship offer, which could lead to a job. It was good. I gained more knowledge about what a housing association does and the benefits of working.”

“Speaking to Sylvia, as I didn’t know her at the start, has helped. I am feeling more confident in my class. It helped me feel that it was ok to feel nervous and now I can do speak in class much more easily.” The next thing Jessie and Sylvia are going to work on are interview skills “I'm going to university and I want to make myself look presentable.”

Overall Jessie agrees that the mentoring program has helped her grow and develop “I’m definitely more confident on giving my own suggestions and points of view, especially when in a class situation and now I don’t hide behind someone else.”

“With out my mentor I think it would have taken me longer to be able to talk to people and taken me longer to be confident in myself and to stand up and take control. Having Sylvia has made me a better person, more open to meeting new people and more confident.”

Sylvia has been enjoying mentoring Jessie “Mentoring Jessie has been a breath of fresh air. Jessie is so down to earth, honest and very focussed. She’s been positive from the start, I remember when she said one of the areas she wanted to work on was her confidence, to be honest I was really surprised because Jessie comes across as confident. She knows what she wants and is working hard towards her personal goals.

“The last time I met up with Jessie I was so encouraged to hear that she had grown in confidence, I remember Jessie talking about a presentation for Business studies that she wasn’t so keen to do because it was in front of everyone (public speaking) and when I asked her how it went she talked about it so casually – showing that she had overcome that obstacle, I felt really encouraged.

“Jessie is so bright and I believe over the months I can see she has set herself clear objectives, what she wants to do and how she wants to do it – talking about university options and her rationale for choosing the certain universities showed such maturity.

“This mentoring project has been such a good opportunity – it’s helped me to learn from a young person, I’ve learned things about Jessie’s background (some of it reminded me of school) and have been so intrigued to hear about Portuguese culture. Mentoring is not just about giving some words of “wisdom” to young people but it’s an opportunity to receive and learn too. There’s a lot I’ve learned from Jessie, it’s been a pleasure having her as my mentee, she’s funny and focussed.”

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