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Debras Story

I heard about the Awake Mentoring Project from my specialist Dr Kent. Dr Kent specialises in cerebral palsy. She asked me if I would be interested in volunteering to be a mentor for the project, Dr Kent seemed to think I had a lot to offer to the project and asked if it would be OK to put my name forward. I said it sounded interesting but I was a bit occupied at the moment with my English, Maths and Computer courses. But she put my name forward anyway.

I received a letter inviting me down for an interview, by this time I had passed my maths exam freeing a bit of time, but wasnít sure it was something I could do. I had told my friend Tracy who also has cerebral palsy about this and she had said it sounded interesting and would like to see what it was all about, she asked if I would mind if she could apply to be a mentor, I said no, I didnít mind. Tracy got an interview and I am pleased to say Tracy got the job. Through Tracy getting the mentoring job it opened up a whole new world for me. HOW and WHY?

Tracy asked me if I would go with her to the mentors opening evening I said yes, there she would meet other people who were going to be mentors. While I was there I found out more about the mentoring Project I was sat there thinking yes I might be able to do this, anyway there was no point in just thinking about it I put myself forward got an interview and got the job.

The Awake Mentoring Project is all about people who have disabilities helping other people who have disabilities, by sharing life skills, helping to achieve their goals in life. Sometimes we who have disabilities have people around us that say they understand, but are not disable themselves, how can they fully understand?

I was brought up around able bodied people, I went to main stream school, and I didnít really have contact with anyone else who had a disability. I saw other disable people only when I went to see the specialist. I went through life feeling like I was some kind of alien, I felt alienated. But through going to Scope, training to be a mentor I have met other disabled people, it has really opened my eyes it has been really good just to talk to people who really do understand because they have been there themselves and the feedback I get from them has really helped me. But most of all the feeling of being alienated is going away.

The Awake Mentoring Project has helped me already just by meeting other disable people, and I am sure it will continue to do so. It has helped me cope more with my own disability given me more confidence in myself. The first time I mentored myself I was really nervous but when I met me mentee I was put at ease. It went quite well. I just want to help other disabled people achieve their goals in life. Can I just say even though I am a mentor I am a mentee too it is good to know there is someone there for me to.

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