I never had a mentor growing up. There wasn’t really anyone around who I could look up to as a role model. I see these kids nowadays who need SO much time and attention. I wish more people would volunteer to mentor children. I wish there were more organizations that did it. I have a mentee and she’s 12, she’ll be 13 this month. She’s sweet and smart, but she has had to deal with some pretty difficult things. I don’t want to divulge any specific details of her situation, but I will say that we have made a real connection. I hope to be able to follow her throughout junior high and high school.

The local YMCA here where I live sponsors a mentoring program, YMentors. I volunteered last year to become involved in the program. While I did not know what to expect, or what type of child I would get as a mentee, I was excited to be able to learn and help in any way I could. It seems to me that these days children need all the extra love and attention that they can possibly get. Some situations cannot be helped, where a parent is absent because of death or incarceration, but then there are others that you can’t help but feel sorry for the children because their situations don’t have to be the way that they are. Parents who just seem to not care about their child’s emotional mindset. I think we all want for our children – and not just our own, but all children – to succeed and to become capable independent members of society as adults. Their social skills and academics must be in good standing in order for them to be able to do this.

I know a child who suffered a great loss. Her mother was killed and she and her other brothers and one sister were left to be cared for by their grandmother (her mother’s mother). Since I’ve known her (before the tragedy), she was always happy-go-lucky, very talkative, funny… Since the incident, I’ve seen her at school while visiting my mentee and she seems to be well-liked by her peers. She laughs and talks with them and she seems happy. I don’t know how she has handled life without her mother the last few years, but I’m sure it has been rough. She had a mentor but she didn’t really open up to her. She didn’t seem to want to be in the program. I contemplated being a mentor to her, but I wasn’t sure if that would be appropriate since I knew her personally. Maybe it would have been okay… But in all aspects of the matter of mentoring; I feel that any child who is need, should have someone they can talk to. Even if its only to have someone there to listen and show that they care – which really is what mentoring is all about.

I wished I had someone to talk to growing up. But now, as an adult, I hope that I can make a difference in the life of some child who may not have the hope they need to survive. I don’t have much money, and with three children and a full-time job, I don’t have an abundance of time. But when I do make the time to spend with my mentee, I hope she can grow to appreciate it and learn something from me that she will be able to cherish and keep with her for years to come. I want to be that person in the lives of my own children as well. I know kids don’t always have the best relationships with their parents and they can’t always go to them and say, “Mom I need to talk to you about something that’s on my mind.” And the parents may not always have the answers the child is looking for. But the least any of us can do is share our life experiences with a child and to help them make better choices and decisions than we did ourselves. To mentor a child cost you nothing but a little time. But the impact one person can make in the life of a child who earnestly needs that extra special someone, is priceless.

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