What do mentors say about the mentoring journey? Acknowledging every programme is different, it remains encouraging to read of other people’s positive experiences, remembering that, initially, there were two strangers meeting. Some comments that promote the spirit of mentoring:
I was blessed to have been born with a wonderful role model in my life, my mother, Valerie. She’s the most unselfish person I know and a big source of inspiration for me. She’ll sometimes give jobs to ex-drug dealers or guys who have just had really bad breaks. She gave this one sketchy guy a job cutting the lawn. I was freaking out about it, but realised that where I see this hardened criminal who could snap your neck and run amok, she sees somebody’s son.
It took John about a year to realize that just showing up was the most important thing. “I had in my own head an agenda of stuff to do and ways to make it all work, but I kept getting a little disappointed in that it didn’t seem to make much difference to him if we were doing something that I thought was going to be special or not. After about a year, I realized his attitude changed toward me, not because of anything special we did, but because he started to believe that I was going to keep showing up. It was just the consistency.
Richard S. Greif
On the day we were matched, Ray and I became instant friends; as he reached for my hand, he grabbed hold of my heart. I had no idea then that I would become not just a friend and mentor but truly a brother of the heart.
As I told [my mentee] then: “You’ve taught me some very big lessons: about love, about strength of character, about dedication, and about myself. I was so afraid when we first met that you would reject me, that I would fail. But you helped me overcome my fears when you let me into your life.” I hope I have done the same for her.
Andrew has become a big brother to my sons. I watch him playing with my oldest son and hearken back to the first few years when I was matched with him. He is now giving back to my son what I gave to him. Andrew has grown into such a great man. There is no doubt that he understands the need to keep the chain of love and support that he benefited from going. Some day, I know that Andrew will pay me the ultimate compliment and become a Big Brother with Big Brother, Big Sisters.
Gregory A. Hearing
It has been such a rewarding experience to me. I’m often complimented and told how good I have been for Steve, but those people are missing the point. Steve has been great for me. He has helped me become the type of individual I want to be, and he has returned the love tenfold. Who would have thought that an immature eighteen-year-old and a spunky six-year-old would hit it off so well and remain together? Today, we both teach in the public school system and are as close as ever. We are family and will be until the day one of us leaves this Earth.
Justin and I have quickly become good friends, and we usually see each other several times each month. He and I enjoy all kinds of different activities from attending professional sporting events to working in the yard and sometimes just going to get a haircut or eating dinner and talking. Justin is a great kid who comes froma good family, and he always makes me laugh. He has already shown major improvement in school, and I know Justin has a bright future ahead of him! The first time I met him, Justin looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and I saw myself when I was about his age. Wow! It was definitely a magical moment.
For the next two years, Jeremiah and I spent many weekends doing a dizzying array of activities: wrestling matches, monster truck races, fairs, movies, restaurants, taking things apart (often), putting things together (less often), taking road trips, hanging around, fighting each other in epic squirt gun battles, watching old bad movies together, and even trying our hand at learning how to cook. When Jeremiah was around, we just always seemed to be having fun.
On the phone Jeremiah said so many nice things about me and the things we did together. But I was the one who was blessed by him. That’s the thing with mentoring; as you give, you receive at the same time without even knowing it. I have a feeling this graceful mutuality is the way all relationships are supposed to be. In my case, I believe I got the better end of the bargain, and I know that Jeremiah feels the same way.
Amber is a very pretty, intelligent young woman who just needed a support system to enhance and reinforce the fulfilment of her goals and dreams for success. Thank you, Amber, for sharing your life with me; you kept me young at heart and gave me the chance to see life through your journey. I love you, and I’m so very proud of you.
Marsha Ammerman Nee
For those of you debating whether to get involved as a Big Sister or a Big Brother [mentor], remember that each and every one of us has something special to offer. But until we take the steps to volunteer, we will never experience the joy that comes from sharing our hearts. I know I didn’t. Every one of us can help a [young person] make memories he or she will cherish for his or her entire life. For some, those memories are all they have to help them through. The great thing is, those same memories help us make it through sometimes too.
Angela M. Gustafson
Jana has taught me to keep sight of the truly important things in life: love, friendship and humor.
Tammy Sepeck Rundle
Over the years our activities ranged from helping with school studies and cleaning garages to celebrating birthdays, going for walks, overnight trips, talking over lunch or dinner, movies, playing board games, and watching TV. Just being together was what was special to all of us.
All quotes are from: Little moments Big Magic – Inspirational stories of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Magic They Create; Beth Barrett, Alan Annis, Denice Riffey; Magical Moments Publishing (2004)
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