Kika Inacio joined us as a Senior Project Leader in Manchester at the beginning of the summer. In this blog, she tells us what mentoring means to her and how she got to where she is today.
After completing high school in Portugal, I moved to Manchester to study Physics and Astrophysics. My main motivation to study away from home was a desire to learn more about the world around me. At first I set out to achieve this by focusing on my academics and thinking about a career in scientific investigation. However, in the five years I spent studying, it was my involvement in extracurricular activities that had the biggest impact on me. I loved the diverse student body of my university and the variety of opportunities on offer to make a practical impact on the local community.
I started volunteering with Citywise soon after I moved to Manchester. Since then, I have worked as a part-time project leader during my studies, volunteered on holiday projects in both Manchester and Glasgow and was the President of the Citywise Society at the University of Manchester. As you can probably tell, I can’t get enough of Citywise! Here’s why…
As a child, I had a mentor who supported me. This young adult was not a parent or a teacher but a youth group leader at church who went out of her way to support me. The positive transformation in that period of my life showed me that mentoring can help young people unlock their potential and embrace life with a sense of ownership and self-worth.
Over the past six years I have seen how Citywise connects with families and schools to involve the whole community in supporting the character education of its young people. Citywise works in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK, but it has inspired me to see how communities of active citizens can bring about social change by working together.
All the experiences I have had working with young people have taught me – and I am sure will always keep on teaching me – much more than I ever asked for. I am often in awe of their honesty, creativity, innocence and infinite energy! On top of this, my ever-growing personal interest in character education and the real transformations I have witnessed as a Citywise mentor make this charity’s vision the front-runner when it comes to causes I believe in.
Lastly, I love that I get to work with enthusiastic volunteers and colleagues who are passionate about youth work and mentoring. As the president of the UoM Citywise Society I focused almost solely on the volunteers’ experience throughout their involvement with the charity, and now as a staff member I am still working closely with the student societies to continue supporting our wonderful volunteers. It is a privilege to see that as the young people develop and learn, so do the team of student volunteers. So…if reading this has made you curious about Citywise and youth mentoring, follow this link to find out more and apply to join us!