Louie’s year as a Writing Mentor

Posted by theministry on 15th March 2024

“My first year of volunteering at Ministry Of Stories has been immense amounts of fun!”



Hail from:

Wellington, New Zealand


What’s your favourite character from a book? 

My favourite antagonist, from when I was at an age where I could’ve attended Ministry of Stories, was Alvin The Treacherous the arch-nemesis of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (How to Train your Dragon, Cressida Cowell). A master manipulator, cool, calculated and ruthless- with a penchant for long dramatic monologues- it’s clear why I loved him so much!


Why did you decide to volunteer with the Ministry of Stories?

During COVID I participated in a few varying volunteering projects, following these I decided to seek out greater involvement in my local community. Then Ministry of Stories popped onto my radar and one training session later, I was hooked!

Did anything worry you before starting? How did that change while volunteering? 

I think initially I worried whether I’d have the communication skills (lacking any prior teaching experience) to help out the young writers. Also, I thought that it might be overwhelming dealing with a bunch of children at once. These concerns pretty much disappeared once I actually got stuck in, sure it can be a little tiring dealing with a group of very creative and engaging young people but it’s great to have such a rewarding challenge. 

How did you find your first year?

My first year of volunteering at Ministry Of Stories has been immense amounts of fun! Not only has the diversity of youngsters made the sessions so enjoyable but they’ve posed very different challenges. The other mentors have also been such a great source of inspiration, with everyone bringing their own charm and skills to each session creates such an awesome environment- that kept bringing me back.


What’s been your most surprising moment while volunteering?

The Great Wet Breadstick Debate of 2024. What started as an innocent experiment, dunking breadsticks in water, spawned a political movement with heated debate, factionalism, logos and just general enthusiasm- you can’t ever expect a standard session with these young people. 


Favourite story you’ve read or helped create during mentoring? 

The Ministry’s focus on having a diverse set of creative output meant that I got to dabble in board game creation, a massive passion of mine. Hard to pick a favourite from the young people that I was mentoring, but the most fascinating was a young writer’s dark and twisted journey of peril across an island that was at all points trying to send you back to square one, her artistry and thoroughness was a joy to help mentor.  

What difference does mentoring make to a young person?

There are so many ways in which I’ve seen mentoring help, inspire or even just entertain the Junior Ministers. I think Ministry of Stories focuses on one of the most valuable parts of a child’s development- actively encouraging communication of ideas. Seeing a shy and quiet young person develop into a non-stop chatterbox has got to be one of the best ways to make a difference.  


Best Ministry Moment…

One of the absolute top moments for me was during the Time To Write term, when the young writers created their own responses to music (a piece composed and performed by one of the other mentors- SO COOL) and then performed it in front of the whole group. It was really poignant and honestly incredibly inspiring.


The greatest thing you’ve learnt from our writers?

I think it’s a lesson all writers must learn again and again: just get your ideas down onto the page, in whatever form you like, and the rest will follow.


Advice you’d give to a new mentor?

Snacks are the one true power in these lands.


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