His Honour Judge Jinder Singh Boora has written about the work he does as a mentor at Saltley Academy on behalf of The Princes’ Trust Mentoring Programme.
I’m currently undertaking work as a mentor at Saltley Academy. It’s part of the Mosaic Secondary Mentoring Programme. This is an 8-session programme run by the Prince’s Trust. It’s co-ordinated by two inspirational ladies; Helen Hopkins, Senior Lead Practitioner at the school and Shabina Bi-Baroo, Youth Development Lead at the Princes’ Trust.
Saltley Academy is a vibrant co-educational secondary school in inner city Birmingham. It has a wonderful cultural mix, both amongst its students and staff.
I’m part of a team of mentors who visit the school on a fortnightly basis. We meet with a group of Year 8 students, who the school has selected because they’ve shown potential to excel. This can be academically or vocationally.
Sessions involve one mentor leading a one-hour activity or discussion. The event is designed to help the students develop key skills to equip them for tertiary education and vocational work. Each session is interactive. Students participate in exercises.
I’ve led a discussion on improving communication skills. This included the importance of being clear, concise and courteous when engaging with others, whether verbally or in writing. The importance of positive internal communication to develop self-esteem was also covered.
The programme at Saltley Academy has been amazing. I’ve seen students blossom over the last few weeks. Many who were reluctant to talk, are now routinely leading group discussions. It’s been a marvel to witness just how much change young people can achieve through such a small commitment on my part.
Why do I do it? The personal development I see in the students makes me feel like I’m helping create future leaders. The selfish part of me wants to be a small part of their success.
But there’s bigger reason. It helps enrich me personally. Through programmes like this, I’ve learnt about aspects of life that would otherwise be beyond my radar. I now regularly visit a part of my home city that I barely knew existed. The students have told me about their aspirations. I’ve learned about their favourite music. I now listen to musical genres from every continent. I’m hooked. I’ve met fellow mentors from all walks of life. Many have become friends.
I’m someone who never reads, watches or listens to fiction. Why? Because my community engagement provides fascinating real-life stories that pique my interest. Being involved in community projects, such as my mentoring at Saltley Academy, gives me greater insight into the society of which I’m part. This knowledge helps my judicial decision-making. I commend such work to all judges.
His Honour Judge Jinder Singh Boora