As we near the end of the school year I am left wondering how many mentors really recognize the difference you make? I think many of us modestly say we aren’t doing much, we just show up and hang out. Sometimes we might even wonder if we make a difference at all, we may even question if our mentee still “needs” us. This is a common concern for mentors.

I was visiting with a mentor that said “I don’t think I am helping, and am not even sure if he sees me as anything but a way to get out of class.” I assured him that if he gave it a little more time something would happen that would let him know he was needed. The very next week when he arrived at the school the Principal was waiting to greet him. She said “I don’t know if you realize the impact you have made on this young man. He spends a lot of time in trouble and in my office, but not on Tuesday. He is a model student on Tuesday because he doesn’t want to miss his time with you. You are the only constant he has in his life. No one has ever shown up for him like you do.”

“’One hour a week changes lives’ is not simply in the data. It’s in the eyes of the children that wait expectantly for their mentors and are not disappointed. It’s kids realizing that they have enough value so an adult simply wants to spend time with them—spend time with them not because their job is to teach them, not because they are related and have to care for them, not because they are paid to watch them, but simply because this adult values them and chooses to be with them for no other motive.” -Randee Garrett, school counselor and Mentoring Network board member

With our heartfelt thanks…thank you for showing up and making a difference-even when you didn’t realize you were. Thank you for listening, laughing, understanding that silence is OK, and smiling at the persistent chatter. Thank you for being a constant. Thank you for helping your mentee see their value.

The one hour a week you give is changing lives! --

Marci Silva Board Chair The Mentoring Network Inc. One hour, once a week, transforms lives

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I was visiting with some people who were involved in a group hiring. They told me about a candidate who didn’t interview very well and was close to the bottom of their list. Out of the blue the group received a call from this candidate asking for a second chance to interview. He explained he was very nervous and knew he wasn’t his best self in the first interview. The group, although not really confident anything would change, granted his request. He did an amazing job and they loved him. In fact, they just extended a job offer to him.

This story made me think of our mentees. Some of them go to school and quickly earn a bad reputation when they do not make a good first impression. Then something magical happens: they are matched with a mentor. Suddenly they are given a chance to spend time with a friend who shows up just to get to know them. When this match takes place, we see confidence grow week after week, behaviors improve, attendance increases, many positive changes begin to happen. All these kids need is an opportunity to overcome the first impression and show their best self. Having a mentor gives them that chance.

“I was having an identity issue, I didn’t really know who I was, I was going down a path that wasn’t favorable that could have led to my demise. My mentor was there, she sat back and waited, but was there. I was at a party and was thinking about my life when it dawned on me that these so-called friends I was hanging out with, the choices I was making—they were not really me. When I was with my mentor, that is when I was really me. My mentor brought out the parts of me that I loved most.” –a Mentoring Network mentee

Regardless of where we are in life, we all need a chance to show the best version of ourselves. Being a mentor allows us to highlight the good, celebrate success, and have great discussions around opportunities for change. We get to be a safe place for our mentee to share their fears and frustrations and to cheer with them when they do well. What an honor to see their confidence grow! Thank you for all you are doing to make a difference in the life of a child.

Smiles! --

Marci Silva Board Chair The Mentoring Network Inc. One hour, once a week, transforms lives

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“My time with my mentee proved to be wonderful. She is a sweet soul. She gave a fantastic tour! She showed me her work hanging on the wall. It was an “all about me” project. Hers was lacking several components…a portrait…some of her “favorites” but sadly, she didn’t identify her “superpower”. As our tour continued, I got to see the incredible crocheted animals WHICH was the source of a tender moment that my mentee named each of them…quite creatively- I pointed out to her. Her face lit up after my observation regarding her creativity and she jumped up and down and said …”THAT’S MY SUPERPOWER!” Immediately, we went to her assignment and filled in the superpower she realized today!" Everyone has something unique and beautiful to contribute to our world. Oftentimes the children we work with struggle to identify the gifts they have to offer. As mentors we are blessed with so many opportunities to help these children see how wonderful they are! Our job as a mentor may seem simple at times--we show up, we listen, we laugh, we encourage, we care, we support, we give time. What we view as simple gifts are far more than that to children who recognize their superpowers because of how beautifully we display ours. We teach them to recognize how their unique traits and personality contribute to their superpowers. We celebrate creativity and differences. And the testimony we hear over and over…as mentors we gain more than we give! This, my friends, is how superheroes are created! --

Marci Silva Board Chair The Mentoring Network Inc. One hour, once a week, transforms lives

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