In early 2018 we launched our Mentorship Program. The idea was simple, help students individually in math, reading and life skills by pairing them to work one-on-one with a volunteer mentor. We had no idea the impact on our students and our volunteers would be so great. Not only did students matched with mentors have a higher retention and growth rate in math and reading, these pairs formed beautiful relationships, laughing together, learning from one another and enjoying their times together.
Enjoy each other
Crystal Fulda was one of the first people to sign up to mentor. “The hour I spend each week mentoring at Pathways is one of the highlights of my week. The young lady I mentor is always enthusiastic, happy to see me, works hard and loves learning new things. We have developed a great friendship and I absolutely love the time we spend together. I have learned a great deal from her. Its great fun to talk and share about our past week, play a game together or do a craft, read a new book or story and conquer new math skills together.” Her mentee loves her time with Crystal as well. “My mentor is Crystal. We meet on Thursday. I have so much fun with her,” Terah says.
Communication is key
Jessica and Kelly are another pair that started working together soon after the program launch. Jessica was excited to share her experience as a mentor. “’Pecoom? What’s a pecoom? Can you draw one for me?’ And he did. I can’t tell you what it was, but he drew it. This was one of my first conversations with Kelly when we started working together Spring 2018. Quiet, mysterious, and funny, I’m grateful for a weekly opportunity to have my usually easy communication skills challenged. You see, Kelly communicates often but not easily. He reads, writes, and does arithmetic, and he speaks to you best through his artistic skills and sense of humor. One of my favorite exchanges included one of our reading lessons. Because I saw Kelly tired after a lot of reading, I offered to take turns reading sentences or paragraphs. I would read a part, then say, “Your turn, Kelly.” He would read his part, then point to me and so on. After one of the times I told Kelly it was his turn, he smiled and pointed to me. I repeated that it was his turn, and his grin got bigger, and he pointed at me again. I realized he was joking with me!” This social aspect for our students and mentors is a huge part of the program. Students look forward to working with their mentors every week and have a great time creating a friendship.
Work hard, laugh hard
Mentor Randy has been working with Curtis for a number of months and his favorite part of it is getting Curtis to laugh. “I just love what a fantastic sense of humor Curtis has. We are a great mentorship match because we both love to joke and to laugh. Curtis makes me laugh a lot with his great jokes.” Randy and Curtis have a lot in common especially their love of the Beatles. Curtis can tell you who wrote each song and what year it came out. When Rangy asked him how he knew so much Curtis smiled and said “Google, mister!” Curtis likes to refer to Randy as his buddy, “He’s a fun guy Randy. We have a good time.”
We currently have 22 fun and unique mentor pairs. Each group has their own goals, jokes, and beautiful relationships. Some bring books to read together, others like to dress up in special outfits to meet their mentors. Each group has their own story and they love to tell in. Our 2019 goal is to match all Pathways students with a mentor. There are still 40 students waiting for their special match. You can join the team by applying to be a mentor today.