what is not seen still matters
we were told this today: “last night I was on the bus home after work, just like any other week day, not expecting anything especially profound to occur. I am aware that many ex-prisoners are hyper-vigilant, it comes from years of being on unconscious and often conscious alert. I think I hide this quite well, as in, I don't stare around at people or at a spot while scanning my surroundings. What happened caught me completely off guard and taught me something valuable about myself and more importantly, what other people that have been released from prison might experience too.
I was standing by the doors in the middle of the bus and there was one pushchair already in the space on the opposite side. We pulled up to a bus stop where a woman got on with another pushchair, so I moved down inside the bus to let her in and then it happened.
The woman looked around, then turned to me and asked, 'Would you hold her while I tap in please?' and proffered one handle of the pushchair to me.
I automatically took the handle and then felt not exactly overwhelmed but certainly profoundly moved by the trust and acceptance that this simple exchange conveyed in a matter of a few seconds in total until I handed back to the woman.
I'm sure the woman wasn't aware of what this meant to me and why would she? It did get me thinking though, about how we as ex-prisoners, myself included, accept distrust and unacceptance from others like it's normal and we kid ourselves that this doesn't matter.
It does matter.
Thank you to the woman on the bus.”
Mentor Testimonials 2018
The work we do and the support we're able to give our clients just wouldn't be possible without the help of a fantastic team of mentors and volunteers. We spoke to a couple of our mentors to ask them how they've found working with The Reasons Why Foundation and they've learnt along the way.
Here's what they said:
"Working with the RWF has been enjoyable and educational. Mentoring someone who simply needs more support is a great way to enhance your own understanding of the justice system, diversify your own thoughts and help people who deserve a second chance at life. Working with other mentors makes you feel like you are part of this supportive community and I've certainly learnt about myself, and the justice system which is why charities like RWF are so important."
Abi, November 2018
"The Reasons why foundation is a dedicated organisation. They taught me a lot about about prisoners but also about myself. They took away any fears or doubts I had about being a mentor and made me realise that though I'm mentoring someone, I will not be alone. They provide resources and workshops to not only make sure your mentee is doing well but also you as a mentor are being looked after. They change people's live and do all they can to ensure that every prisoner or ex-con they work with is given the same opportunity as an ordinary person to get their life together"
Candice, December 2018
"I've been with RWF as a mentor for over a year now and love being involved at a local level. I have had a fantastic and enriching experience. All volunteers are well trained with a great support network, and the money goes directly into making a difference. It's also really good fun."
Charlotte, December 2018
"I loved being a mentor for RWF. Joining RWF was my very first-time volunteering through an agency and I'm glad I did. The experience from the initial enquiry, training, being match and working with the mentee were very positive. Even when faced with challenges whether it was me as a mentor or my mentee the, team showed care and were very much on board every step of the way. They were all approachable and they genuinely cared about me as a mentor and my mentee. I'm now working on a project full time and even though I don't have the time as I used to, I often think about how I can be matched again. An experience I will never forget."
Sharon, March 2018