My name is Raymond Crawford, I am a qualified youth mentor and have been working in the mentoring field with Forward Ever Inclusive Education for the past 6 months. During that time I have delivered youth mentoring services commissioned by Apple Fostering Ltd.

My experiences so far have been exhilarating, inspiring, and fulfilling, to say the least. My coordinator David Williams is meticulous and passionate in his capacity as a leader training people like myself to play our role in the lives of disaffected youths who need guidance, motivation, and nurturing with regard to the many difficulties they encounter throughout fostering in London, and in their modern-day life.

Since I qualified I have been mentoring a young 14-year-old boy who was looked after by Apple Fostering. He has recently been going through some challenging times in relation to his home life, education, and anger management.

I met him at his foster parent’s house and we hit it off immediately. He informed me of his love for sports and music which are also two of my passions. We decided to have a go at channeling his energy into trying to make something positive manifest from his obvious potential to achieve his goals.

The first meeting thereafter was just a one on one discussion about what he was going through personally and he confided in me and opened up about some of the more worrying difficulties.

I advised that I was very engaged and aware in terms of what his age group go through, especially those put through fostering in London. I also told him that his actions, reactions & interactions could easily cause him more intensified problems if he continued to let his emotions override his intelligence.

I provided my assurances that what we spoke of would remain between us and he immediately told me that he trusted me and would act on my non-advice approaches. Two days later his foster parent called me to say that she had seen a 180 degree turn around in his behaviour and was very impressed at how quickly the change had occurred, for which she gave me the full credit also exclaiming that she was excited at the future prospect of his improved behaviour.

The subsequent meetings with my Mentee have been both positive and fulfilling and if it hadn’t been for all of the lockdowns etc we would have achieved a lot more in that short space of time.

Having said that though, on the occasions we have met, we have had an amazing rapport which has allowed us to write a whole song (which we intend to record at some stage, lockdown permitting) and have worked on his general fitness and cardio conditioning to assist his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

I’ve also made links with trainers and scouts who can help him to get into the right physical shape, mentality and places to be seen by the right people in that field. He has shown me on many occasions that he is very grateful for my guidance, application, and attention to opening up potential opportunities to make his dreams become a reality.

Thanks to David Williams at Forward Ever Inclusive Education and Apple Fostering who specialize in fostering in London, this whole experience has been an exciting and satisfying revelation for me.

I have learned a whole new skill set, plus gleaned much knowledge pertaining to my attitude, the way I communicate, and my application regarding working and interacting with my Mentee.

I am looking forward to doing more of this type of work, as I evolve and expand in my capacity as an educator and nurturer of talent guiding youths positively in a direction of their own choosing.

My ultimate intention is to help and engage with young people so that they can realize their full potential.

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