Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mentoring Does Not Suck

We know mentoring can really change a young person’s life, but Alba was becoming disenchanted with the mentoring program after two mentors in a row were unable to stick with it.

We were concerned that if the next mentor didn’t work out we might lose Alba.  Her attitude was getting worse and she said that she wanted out of the program.  She even said that the program “sucked”.
But we don’t give up so easily…and we don’t judge our youth for their attitude.  We look beneath their pain and offer unconditional support.  Besides, she had good reason to be upset.

So, we found another mentor and asked Alba to “do us a favor” and come to the first 4 sessions and if she still wants to quit after that, “we won’t bug you anymore”.  She agreed.  So I get to the session where Alba would meet her new mentor, and to my dismay, this mentor did not show up!  I was on the verge of panic.  It would be devastating to let this girl down yet again.  Now, Tony is always telling us to “Trust The Process”.  He believes that mentoring is divinely inspired.  We could use some divine intervention here...
...and it showed up - in the form of a wonderful woman named Jill.  At that same session another youth who was supposed to be matched with Jill had to drop out of the program, leaving Jill without a mentee. We took that as a sign and put Alba and Jill together, even though Jill appeared to be a very firm and assertive mentor and Alba was a little rocker girl with a bit of an attitude and some understandable resistance. 
No kidding, a month later, Alba called me PERSONALLY to thank us for matching her with this mentor, and expressed how much Jill contacts her, and how often they hang out, etc!  I was so excited because I noticed how Alba’s attitude was transformed, how she began calling YMC to see when the next session was, and would always thank us after each session!  Mentoring doesn’t ‘suck’ anymore!

What’s more, Alba's grades and attendance have improved, and she said her confidence and self esteem increased tremendously within this year being mentored by Jill!  I am fortunate to have witnessed this transformation and to see this girl become a better version of herself all within a year! She is such a  sweet and pleasant person to be around.  It has been a privilege to watch Alba grow!  She and Jill are still hanging out and talking, even though the program formally ended 2 months ago. This is definitely a Success Story.  Mentoring works! J

By Shonnica Croom 11/12/2012