What’s your favorite part of your job?
Oh, this is an easy one! By far, the favorite part of my job is when I can drive away from a match meeting or a one-year meeting and go, "Now that is one awesome match." Our mentors give so much of their time and energy to our kids, and it's a true honor to be able to witness that love and dedication first hand. You can see the difference in the kids year after year. The child that I originally interviewed to enroll them in the program is so different from the child that I meet after they've been matched with a mentor for a year. I consider myself lucky to be able to work first-hand with our matches and families, and to be able to see those transformations happen.
Is there a particular story of a match that you are particularly proud of?
There are countless stories of the PYD matches that inspire me every day. In a recent example, a handful of our matches were asked to describe their mentoring relationship in one to two words, PYD mentees and mentors had the following responses:
•Mentee Evan, “If I was to sum up my mentoring relationship in one word, it would be helpful.”
•Mentor Kate, “If I could sum up my mentoring relationship in two words, I would say magnetic bond.”
•Mentor Carl, “Mutually beneficial.”
•Mentee Becky “I think that we are a perfect match.”
•Mentee Dejan – “If I had to sum up the mentoring relationship in one word it would be fantastic because he has been fantastic. Carl has shown that anything is possible and I believe it.”
What is your program doing to celebrate this year’s Red Sox Mentoring Challenge? (Red sox theme)
Twenty PYD participants had the exciting opportunity of attending mentoring night at Fenway Park. Our matches loved cheering on the Red Sox, meeting other program participants, and celebrating the power of mentoring. One of our matches was even selected to read the starting lineup live on NESN. In addition, we have hosted two new recruitment events to increase our number of quality mentors. Within these events, we had PYD mentee fellows speak to prospective volunteers about their experience as mentees. One of the events was in Salem which was chosen because of the difficulty recruiting mentors from the north shore area.
What would you say to those who are on the fence about mentoring?
One of my favorite aspects of mentoring is that it’s mutually beneficial. Mentoring is simple in concept---lending an ear, sharing your time, yet the impacts are profound. Sometimes the idea of mentoring can be daunting to volunteers because they think of how strongly their own mentors have impacted their lives, and it can feel like HUGE shoes to fill. Once they break down the qualities of their mentor, however, such as: listening, caring, showing up, they realize each are qualities they have within themselves that could make all the difference in the life of a young person.
What is something that is really special about your program?
Since our program works exclusively with children and young adults with disabilities, we work with a lot of kids that have a very difficult time with social skills. Either their disability makes it difficult for them to navigate social situations or they simply feel isolated and without many friends, but many of our kids are desperate to have a caring friend in their life. They may also have challenges that make it more difficult for many mentoring programs to serve them, so we pride ourselves on being able to accommodate these kids and find them a match. They enter our program shy and reserved, but with just a little attention, they blossom.