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  • Writer's pictureChloe Lewis

Introducing our partner school: Eastside Young Leaders' Academy

Each month, we'll introduce you to someone new in our Catalyst Collective. This month, instead of a mentoring pair, meet Carol Murraine!

Carol is Head of Operations, Pastoral Care & Safeguarding at Eastside Young Leaders' Academy, our first ever partner school. Here, she talks a bit more about the experience of working with The Catalyst and what impact the programme has had on their students.


When we approached Eastside back in November 2020 and asked to run a mentoring programme with your students, it was brilliant how quickly you were able to mobilise a great cohort of students for us to work with. How did you identifying girls for The Catalyst? Is this a programme where students have to opt in, or do you choose them?

For this first year in 2020, we ran an information and application process just for our Year 10s. For this year coming, things have been a little different, and I've tendered the opportunity to a selected group of Year 10s at EYLA and boarders. They first had the chance to hear a presentation on the programme including testimonials from girls who had taken part in 20-21, and they applied thereafter.

How is The Catalyst Collective different to any other mentoring programmes you've come across?

It is a clear goal focused programme designed to create high flyers. The programme centres on the mentees aspirations and academic hopes for the future and is no nonsense with the tasks set. Led by confident, black women delivering advice and challenge to our own bright young women, this is a programme unseen for aspiring black girls who usually go unnoticed.

Over the last few months, have you noticed any changes in your students from participating in the programme?

The young people who took part this year will be attending boarding schools or colleges in September. Each one has been stretched, those who spoke well now speak exceptionally well, and those who led from the back now charge from the front. One of our mentees did not like public speaking because of her diction. The Catalyst has given her the tools and tasks to release her confidence – she now speaks at every opportunity she gets; parent meetings, student inductions, partner school campaigns and that is just to name a few – we are honoured to have the Catalyst agitate greatness out of each mentee using their goal focused challenge and support model.

Eastside is already doing so much for and with these young people. How can mentoring act as a complement to the many things already on offer to them?

The mentoring builds on the solid foundation we have set, in order for young leaders to discover how much more there is inside. When the mentor looks like you, sounds like you and yet has achieved what you dream of and still has time to push you towards a goal - it is a valuable yet priceless experience. To be supported personally in a trusted, goal focused relationship with the aim of releasing power shapes the way the mentees think about themselves giving them permission to be great.

And finally, what advice would you give to the schools considering The Catalyst?

Don’t allow your bright black girls to go unnoticed. They are powerhouses waiting to be discovered and carry insecurities, which can be overcome at ease supported by The Catalyst Collective.


We are delighted to have partnered with Eastside for our first year, and to have the chance to continue supporting their students into the new school year too!

Next year we are working with three excellent partner schools, and we'll share more details of these over the coming months.

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