On the 24th of August I took part in some training by beat bullying to become a cybermentor. A cybermentor sounds like something out of a scifi movie, but no, we are just young people making a stand against bullying. CM's are online peer mentors for teenagers ages 11-17 who are bullied or have problems at home. We keep a chat forum busy and are there if anyone needs to talk. We are the first point of call for bullied children and can refer them to online counsellors if they start talking about serious issues in their lives- like abuse, drugs or alcohol. If non of these topics come up we can chat to them privately and help come up with solutions to any problems they may be facing.
The training took place at Leeds Met University Library and myself and Laila rolled up there ridiculously early in order to locate the best spending spot in the grounds and all of the other necessities for any guide dog on a long trip away from home. Later we were joined by the trainers from beatbullying, Matt and Claire, and seven other young cybermentors to be. During the training we got to grips with the website, discussed causes, effects and reasons of bullying and what kind of things we might encounter on the website. Also the difficult things, situations we should look out for and we need to refer to the counsellors if encountered. It was really good fun with Matt and Claire and the group became quite close. Every training group has a 'tag' on the website to put on the end of their username so everyone knows where you were trained. We chose 'Bear' so for example 'abc@bear'.
The day finished with graduation, everyone received a badge, a certificate and a pile of business cards- including Laila! During the training Matt and Claire expressed that referrals were very rare- they may have been ridiculously optimistic or very unpopular on the site as I've had to refer at least three people to counsellors, and speaking to other people in my group so have they! However, the training was a really great experience with some amazing people and I am finding being a mentor very rewarding indeed.