The Manuel Calvo Foundation launched in Bizkaia, back in 2017, a project that has been built and developed as a vital experience for all the people involved in the initiative. The differentiating factor of this group is that all participants, both mentors and mentors, are people who volunteer. The objective is to move towards more responsible and committed volunteering, thanks to the collaboration and training of experienced and highly motivated volunteers who offer their time, knowledge and experience in favor of other younger volunteers.
The last group of the ‘Mentoring Volunteering’ project was made up of eighteen people. The process begins with training for mentors in which the role of the mentor is defined, the socio-emotional competencies that are linked to that role are developed or reinforced, and skills that are subsequently developed with the mentors are practiced. In this sense, self-confidence, emotional regulation, empathic communication, interdependence and security are worked on.
From the first session the creation of a cohesive team that facilitates the achievement of the project goals is prioritized. The dynamics are experiential so that the mentor can experience how a mentor who feels uncertainty feels, and what is the power of words in unknown situations. In parallel, we work with people who are going to be mentors, cultivating the motivation necessary for such a relationship. After this training separately, the participants join together to continue their progress in socio-emotional skills that allow the creation of a united, flexible and open working group.
From the perspective of the mentors, being part of this group implies a social recognition of their work as volunteers, and a personal gratification as transmitters of values, skills and vital skills. For mentors, this project is a unique opportunity to get in touch with volunteering, and to gain an experience of great impact for the rest of their lives.