Before going to Walton Middle School for my first mentoring meeting, I did some reading in an attempt to brush up on the duties of a mentor. One of the definitions I read was the following:
“A mentor is an individual, usually older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development.”
I immediately thought, that describes my relationship with my younger sister. Then I reflected, darn! She only started liking me after I left for college (or so she claims, anyway). I fretted; did I have what it took to be a good mentor?
My apprehension, however, dissipated the moment I met my two amazing, funny, and talented mentees. We exclaimed and laughed over the many things we had in common, like loving sports and terrible reality shows (The Hills, anyone?), to being passionate about art, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Since that initial meeting, our talks have ranged from lighter chitchat to the more serious and consequential. Of course, we balance this all out with a pizza or cupcake extravaganza every couple of months or so. Papa John and Betty Crocker can be quite educational, you know.
However, we mostly learn from each other. I firmly believe that a mentoring relationship is reciprocal. Sure, I have already been through middle school and as such have the corresponding wisdom and experience to impart (such as: think long and hard before you perm your hair the night before school pictures). I am encouraged and delighted when my mentees divulge their goals and long-term plans to me. I endeavor to help them see that these are not merely dreams, but attainable realities that they can take concrete steps towards each day. I cannot wait to see what awesome accomplishments each of these amazing girls will achieve in their life journey.
Above all, mentoring gives back. By participating in the Walton Middle School Mentoring program I had hoped to make a difference in just one person’s life. I have come to realize in the brief time we spend together each week, two lives are continuously enriched and developed.
I enjoy and look forward to each lunch hour I spend at Walton and am moved when I think that just by taking a small amount of time each week, I can make a positive impact. And I witness that positive impact when I see my mentee smile at me as she happily offers me half of her ice cream sandwich.
Posted by guest blogger, Bre Lundgren, Walton Middle School Mentor
This blog is part of a Blog Marathon aimed to bring awareness to our community of the current needs for mentors and tutors. Visit www.BeAVolunteer.info to learn about how YOU can make a difference in the life of a child. Stop by the Omni on March 30 between 3:00-6:00 to meet representatives from all of the programs who are looking for more like you to be a mentor or a tutor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. See you there! Please RSVP here.