Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Never can say goodbye...

Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong at our closure session for our Zenith Mentoring Program. We did not have a space reserved, so we snuck into an empty room that we had used before. Great, we are in! Setting up for the slide show… forgot the laptop – crap! No problem, Crystal can email it… too big, no can do… Okay, scrap the slide show. Knock knock… What now? "Um… we have this classroom reserved…" By now, my mantra was "trust the process, trust the process, trust the freakin’ process!!!!!" With mouths full of food we shuffled our way out of the room to the open courtyard where we continued the process – healthy closure – what a concept! In small groups, we talked about our favorite activities: "I liked survivor", a funny moment: "When we went ice-skating, and you fell", something sad: "that my mentor is going away, and wont’ be able to come back next year"…
There is an actual method to our closure madness and we call it CARE. We Clarify – this is our last session. We Acknowledge – mentors and mentees discuss what this experience meant to them. We Reflect – that was supposed to be the slide show – ooops! And finally we Express – my favorite! This is where the Web of Love comes in, bring out the Kleenex!!! Imagine creating a web out of string, linked by truth and the power of connecting with each other. And there is always that moment… when the one you least expect, cracks open, and surprises us with their willingness to expose their vulnerability. For nine months, she looked down, avoiding looking in anyone’s eyes. For nine months she refused to speak, occasionally mumbling monosyllabic responses. For nine months we picked her up from home, because mom would forget to drop her off for session. For nine months we didn’t give up on her. For nine months Sarah gently encouraged her, saw her for who she was, and was there to remind her that it was ok… So with head lowered, hair in her eyes, she carried the string over to Sarah. Her voice heavy with emotion, cracked "I want to thank you for always being there for me. You are the best mentor ever." Her sobs were muffled in Sarah’s shoulder as they hugged. I was a puddle.
Tonight at our Year End Celebration, as I stood in the dark saying goodbye to mentors and mentees, I heard them say to each other "see you next week", "I’ll call you", "we’re coming back next year right?" I grinned. Then I saw her, head down, walking towards me, "move" she said as she shoved a boy out of the way, and then she hugged me. "See you next year" I said. "Nope" she said under her breath. "Whatever" said I… she giggled.
Don’t you want to be a mentor?

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