High Wycombe, England
National Mentoring Month
Serving over the years as both a BTE Champion and a Site Coordinator in High Wycombe, England, Janssen Scientific Advisor Gill Manning has worn a number of hats within BTE, from organizing activities to developing content to serving as an individual/group mentor. One of the things she’s enjoyed most about the program is showing students what is possible; seeing them grow into people who believe in themselves.
“When you see helplessness turn into hopefulness, that’s the most rewarding thing.”
BTE students’ development is strengthened by the experiences the program offers them. She said, “There’s a much bigger world out there than [the students] may realize. Showing them the wonderful tapestry of possibilities that can align with their hopes and dreams, and that there’s a place for everybody, is really what it is all about.”
Through this work Gill has learned more about people from backgrounds different from hers and can see how their values align. She has also come to understand the difficulties students may face and works to help them create opportunities for themselves. Within J&J, Gill has built relationships with people she wouldn’t have otherwise met—people who have different skills but embody the J&J Credo and share a common desire to support young people. “It’s so energizing because you’re in a room with people with the same values as you and you want to make a difference.” Her advice for someone considering becoming a BTE volunteer is to be clear about your reasons for doing it and then to, “throw everything you’ve got into it.” She emphasized, “Start thinking less about ‘What can the world give to me?’ and more about ‘What can I give to the world?’ It’s about what we do together as a community.”
Gill is continuing her volunteerism with BTE as part of a third sustained BTE program in the High Wycombe community.