The Mosaic of Hope

This evening I attended an evening of networking and celebration with other Mosaic Mentors, volunteers, leadership group and team.  I had thought it was just a little networking evening with nibbles and a few nice words being spoken… but it was much bigger than I expected, with over 100 people in attendance of all ages, races and genders… A formal audience setting with key speakers to give the background of how mentoring and Mosaic had started,  how much it has grown and how much benefit it is providing to schools in the region and and now globally.  I had been asked to share my Graduation speech, which I was happy and honoured to do… if a little surprised to see the formality!  I was pleased I changed out of my jeans and boots and wore my Mum’s string of pearls…  a last minute decision in between getting in the door from pick up and tea time…


There was also a brilliant Keynote speaker – the CEO of Hamara HLC, a company which supports and provides services to the community.  He shared his story, rising from nothing to creating something good in Leeds…


He also touched on something that I had personally never expected to feel when I started my mentoring and volunteering journey:  that as mentors we all start off on this journey with a desire to give and give back to our communities, to those less fortunate…. but in doing so, rather than just giving, we receive so much more in return.


Today as we had our first lesson in my new school in Armley in Leeds, that was definitely the case.   I could feel that my confidence had grown from my very first mentoring lesson last term, where I was petrified, quaking in my boots!  And the satisfaction and personal enjoyment I get from that quick hour in seeing faces light up as we play fun games to subliminally stimulate their minds, their confidence, self esteem… is immeasurable.


During the aftermath of 7/7 and the London bombings, Hanif saw his community in Beeston tarnished by negativity following the behaviour of a few.  While he worked with Scotland Yard he also worked with the community that respected him..  He saw how hard it was for some growing up in a locality that was associated with a lot of negativity, this is where he was instrumental in creating positivity in a dark place and where he had his own mentors to help him through that challenging time.


I thought that was a powerful message – living in negativity, doesn’t mean you have to stay in it… you can feed the negativity, or you can find the spark, the light and feed it to create positivity and rise out of the darkness, individually or together.


His parting phrase was:

“Volunteering is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”…

A twist on a quote from Ghandi…

For those who don’t have time, or don’t make time, or simple don’t agree with volunteering and argue that ‘charity begins at home’… I would counter – what about those without homes?  what about those without families?  what about those who may have both but no one who really cares about what they do, say, think or feel?


Through the volunteer mentoring through Mosaic (and other similar programmes) we give that ray of positivity, that ray of hope to those who may not realise they need it… it may not work for all of them, but it may spark something in one or two of them.  We may never know it, but they may go on to do great things… or it may just be the one thing that stops them from doing the one very bad thing they may have been on the path to doing…


Every mentor I spoke to this evening had a different story, a different career, a different journey;  we are an an army of colourful mosaic tiles, one by one coming together to form a giant scene of inspiration and of hope… some may be inspired by its entirety, some may inspired by one and another by another…


A special thanks has to go to a close friend of mine who first suggested that I look in to mentoring & coaching for children… she was also the same person who suggested I write this blog!    I wonder what she will be having me do next!?  Can’t wait…








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