ReachOut is the largest mentoring charity in the UK, working with young people aged nine to 16 in disadvantaged areas to raise aspirations and help them grow in character and attainment. We improve self-confidence and develop numeracy, literacy and communication skills whilst reinforcing our core values of fairness, self-control, good judgement and staying power.
We do this through one-to-one mentoring with positive role models and team activities – including a variety of sports and physical activity programmes – to promote leadership, trust and responsibility.
Young people meet weekly with their ReachOut mentor at after-school projects which take place in a classroom in our partner schools in term time. There are up to 16 young people from one year group on each project, each paired with a mentor, and supervised by a project leader. For the first hour of each session, the young people and their mentors work one-to-one on Maths and English and structured character activities. During the second hour they take part in team sports, led by professional coaches.
For many of the young people, the hour of sports is the motivation they need to complete the first hour of the ReachOut session, where the focus is on goal-setting and academic work. The sports activities reinforce our character strengths that they learn about in the session, and can put it into practice straight away. These include:
Fairness: Following the rules of the sport, and ensuring everyone gets a chance to take part.
Self-control: Not getting angry if you lose, and being a good sport.
Good judgement: Making good decisions during games, and thinking about the consequences before your actions.
Staying power: Being committed to the team and not giving up
In every singly activity we do, we refer to these character strengths. The young people are able to identify these in themselves and other people, or even the character strength they need to work on for next time.
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