I volunteered as a mentor as I wanted to help make a direct impact on improving someone's life. Having grown up in Conon Bridge, Ross-shire I'm very proud of where I come from, and I wanted to do more to make the local community thrive.

Last year I signed up to be a volunteer mentor at DAY1, a Highland youth charity that offers year-long mentoring programmes to young people. The organisation brings mentors and mentees together on a one-to-one basis, based on their common interests and personalities.

DAY1's vision is to give young people additional support, let them experience new things and help them to build a positive sense of purpose and direction. The aim is to guide mentees towards sustainable employment, education or training.

I'm currently matched with a teenage boy from Inverness and have been mentoring him since May 2023. He is at an age where the decisions that he makes can have a profound impact on his future. He's a great kid who is full of enthusiasm, and my goal is to be a positive role model for him to ensure that his energy is channelled in a positive and constructive way.

I'm obviously not a teacher, social worker or parent, but where I can be of use is by offering guidance and encouragement, without being a disciplinarian or decision maker. I'm a steady presence in my mentee's life, someone that he can have fun with and I try to help him make the positive changes required to make the best of his potential.

We typically meet once a week and he will usually decide on the activity that we do together. His favourite activity is go-karting – which is handy, as DAY1 also runs the Inverness Kart Raceway as a social enterprise. The competitive nature of go-karting has been a great way to not only build a relationship together but also to build his self-confidence and give him some pride in himself. Sometimes he will ask to bring a friend or his brother, or even ask me to bring my friends, and we can all enjoy the time together.

I've had a lot of fun as a mentor and have certainly learned a lot about myself during the process. DAY1 has been a pleasure to work with and has offered me all the support and guidance I need as a mentor.

The charity is currently looking for more people to sign up as mentors; I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make a meaningful connection, and to encourage a young person to reach their full potential.


Pete Tolmie

Senior Solicitor