Meet the Mentor: Audrey Schneider

Hi Audrey, so you’re a student in Manchester studying Education, but for everyone at home, you don’t sound British, where are you from?
Is my English accent not convincing enough?! I’ll keep working on it! I’m actually from the good old United States of America, born and raised in a state called Ohio, LeBron James was my neighbour  (not really, but I wish).

Why did you choose to do an internship with Citywise this year?
Last year I volunteered as a mentor and I got to see first-hand how the Citywise programme changes the lives of young people. This year I wanted to see if I could bring some of my skills to the team and help shape the year.

Well, you’ve certainly done that, we’ve loved having you around.

Can you tell us why you love working with young people?
It’s a bit like when you don’t understand something, and someone sits with you and helps to explain it – there is a moment where everything in your brain comes together and you understand it perfectly. That’s why I love working with young people, those moments of clarity happen all the time. I love seeing their faces light up the second they grasp it.

I also love working with young people because I was a young person once. I understand how hard, tiring and confusing it all was, and I just want to be there for them when they need support.

What moments from this year stick out to you?
Ohhh do you have all day?? During one of the sessions within our projects, we were playing a game where we had to split into teams of mentees and mentors. Well I got a bit too competitive and a mentee told me off for not having self-control (which is one of the character traits we teach to the young people) and it just so happened, we learned about self-control that day. I was mentored by my mentee!

What have you loved the most about your Internship?
Coming into the office one day a week and contributing just like everyone else. Everyone who is a part of the team really cares about you and is genuinely interested in your life. The office is like a mini family inside of a work atmosphere.

Another part of my internship is having the support to step out and do something I normally wouldn’t have the confidence to do. One time I was asked if I could write a few blog posts for the website. Little known fact about myself; I often struggle to find the correct words to say or write, so this sounded like a nightmare. The team felt that this was a great fit for me so I spent about two weeks typing out and editing a blog post, you can read here

Anything else you’re particularly proud of?
Yes, as my confidence grew, and I became less terrified of failing (thanks to lots of pep talks and some tears) I created a script for our May 2017 newsletter. With the endless encouragement and support I received, I began to embrace my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. You can check the video newsletter I helped to make here.

What skills have you learnt at Citywise that you hope to use in the future?
Strengthening and developing character is at the core of Citywise’s mentoring approach, this year has been all about that for me. I have learnt a lot about what my strengths and ‘development areas’ are. I have learnt new skills like public speaking. Let me tell you, I definitely thought I was going to be ill the first time I did this, but in the end, I found myself wanting to talk more!

What would you say to anyone who is thinking about getting involved in Citywise in 2018?
Oh, do it. You are guaranteed to have a year full of laughs, chats, and transformation. I know from experience, it is easy to let yourself stick to what you know but don’t let fear get in the way of something that could change your life (i.e this fantastic internship :))

One final important question… Cats or dogs?
Dogs. 100%. All the way. No question.