Permanent Values in a Changing World

PEACH - A Taste of Baytree 

 

PEACH stands for Parents, Education, Achievement and Character and the scheme is designed to help school-aged girls by working closely with the girl and her parents. A team of volunteers mentor the girls on a weekly basis aiming to enhance their school performance and raise their aspirations as they grow in maturity. At the same time, parents commit to a parenting course with group sessions and individual coaching. Here Jenni Hulse talks about mentoring Ogochukwu.

 

PEACH mentors meet weekly with their mentees.

"I started mentoring Ogochukwu in April 2010 and saw the shy, quiet 10-year-old grow in confidence and sense of purpose, ready for the challenges of secondary education.  One year later she started at year 7 in La Retraite, the secondary school of her choice.

This was by no means due to our mentoring sessions alone but I like to think they helped. When I first started mentoring Ogochukwu she was struggling with literacy and had little confidence in her own reading and writing skills. So each week, I tried to incorporate some aspect of literacy into our sessions. Together, we set a weekly goal, often related to developing a more positive attitude towards literacy.

This weekly undivided attention helped her personal development too. Sometimes we spent the whole hour just talking about school and home or about relationships with friends and siblings. These discussions helped build a friendship which strengthened the academic work we did.

Ogochukwu has grown to love the Baytree Centre and has been encouraged to take part in other study groups and activities. She has formed close friendships with some of the other girls on the PEACH scheme. For them, attending the Baytree Centre is an important part of their social lives.

Each month, all the girls attend a group session which provides an opportunity for them to work together. These workshops are usually based around a particular virtue and recent themes have included optimism, humility and industriousness. The workshops encourage Ogochukwu to think about her future and sometimes lead us to discuss university and possible careers. I want Ogochukwu to have the confidence to believe she can go far."

The PEACH programme has had a successful four years, with over 100 girls now signed up and for every young person a parent is involved in the programme too. The welcoming environment of the Baytree Centre, the committed and supportive management team and the dedication and passion of the mentors make taking part in the PEACH programme a rewarding experience.  Sonia, 15, concludes, " I like PEACH because you can talk about the things you want to aim for and they help you to achieve them."