‘They do so much more than they think they do. All the small things, the chats, the advice, the encouragement and the way they treat everyone differently makes them so special’
In 2009, Semhar’s young family relied entirely on her husband financially. Semhar was looking for work but couldn’t demonstrate the necessary experience. She got involved with The Parent House by attending a couple of courses until she decided, with a little encouragement, to go through the mentoring system and see what she could learn.
At The Parent House, parents develop personal skills and professional competences that are relevant to many jobs, and Semhar has drawn on them to secure the one she wanted. She now works for the council as a bus driver for people with learning difficulties, during school hours, so she still has time to look after her children.
‘Taking the courses gave me such a confidence boost. It’s not just about the qualification, it’s meeting new people and taking on new challenges’
Like many parents, the end goal wasn’t clear to Jackie when she arrived at The Parent House, she simply grabbed the opportunity to try something new. She had felt isolated at home, with her life revolving almost entirely around her children and no time to herself. Jackie became interested in the teaching assistant course because her eldest son has learning difficulties, and being as informed as possible about the local education system would empower her to help him cope at school.
Now qualified to be a teaching assistant, Jackie has turned her energies to encouraging parents like her to take the first step in seeking help. As a trained and active member of our outreach team, she spreads the word about our services across the community.
'The mentoring project was a great foot in the door to social work for me'
Zahra wants to be a full time social worker. Halfway through her 3 year degree she had a son and needed to defer her course. She finished her degree but finding employment was not straightforward. She was dealing with the dual challenge of making herself heard in a competitive job seeking environment, whilst juggling looking after her son and looking out for herself.
Zahra came to The Parent House to take a breather, and also learn skills that would boost her CV and make her applications stand out. She trained as a mentor, and knows the work experience will be invaluable in her future job.
‘I sometimes think of The Parent House like a mother and us as its children; each one unique in their own way but all cared for unconditionally’
It was over 6 years ago now that Aki first received one of our flyers through her door. Having a two year old at the time, the mentoring project caught her eye as she was starting to think about her employment options. She contacted us about getting a mentor, and still remembers her mentor fondly.
That first step led to Aki becoming a mentor herself, and applying her new skills to gain a place on two counselling courses. Her journey has now come full circle, as Aki is now a member of staff, ready to share the knowledge she has gained with other parents.
'The teaching assistant course at The Parent House was a huge personal learning curve for me. It inspired me to work hard for a job that really interests me’
Kabir works at a restaurant in Stroud Green. He enjoys his job but the hours make it very difficult to spend time with his young children. He came to The Parent House looking for information about career paths that would suit his lifestyle, and how he could get on them.
Completing a teaching assistant course led him to discover that he liked helping people from different backgrounds, and he is now studying a Level 3 Interpreting course at The Mary Ward Centre. Kabir is excited to be interpreting on behalf of clients in healthcare, law and education, and for local residents whose voices need to be heard.
‘I am feeling much more confident and motivated. Seeking help is important to me now’
Frankie first heard about The Parent House through the Outreach project. She met Nicki, one of our volunteers, at a playgroup drop-in. Frankie was interested in our courses, and started with ‘Preparing to work with children in schools.’ She had always seen her dyslexia as a barrier to learning, and so we put in an application for an assessment.
The results have motivated Frankie to access other courses, because she now knows what help is available, and has the confidence to ask for it. She will be starting her Level 2 Mentoring in September this year. Meanwhile, she has found paid part-time work that fits in with the timetable of family life with her young children.
‘As a mentor, I have not stopped learning. The experience has taught me how to listen and better understand the needs of others’
Nejat got talking to Linda, our Manager, one day when walking past The Parent House on the school run. She was interested in a career in nursing and Linda suggested that the mentoring scheme could provide her with some good experience. She has had two mentees so far and learnt new things from each.
Nejat currently balances looking after her 5 children with running her own cleaning business and working as a healthcare assistant in a local hospital. Soon she will be taking on a new challenge, strengthened by the experience of supporting her mentees, as she starts her nursing degree.
'For me, The Parent House is a space I can just focus on myself’
Yavonne first came to The Parent House seeking help with managing her finances, recommended by a local service based within St Luke’s Community Centre. After completing the budgeting course at The Parent House, Yavonne benefited from support as a mentee, and finally went on to become a mentor herself after Linda recommended her for the project.
She began volunteering with us as part of our Outreach team, and Yavonne has recently found more volunteering opportunities with the Youth Offending Scheme. With all the experience gained, she is feeling more job ready. Yavonne is actively applying for jobs, whilst continuing with her Level 2 mentoring qualification.