Submitted by the Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center
It’s important for our well-being, especially amidst the pandemic, to acknowledge all of the big and small ways that we can make the world a better place. Here at the Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center, we are lucky to witness amazing acts of generosity and kindness on a daily basis and since January marks National Mentoring Month we’d like to celebrate how one caring adult can impact the life of a child.
As Oprah Winfrey once said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to know that no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.” Mentors are a means of creating the village that youth need to thrive and as statistics illustrate, youth who have mentors are far less likely to skip school or engage in substance use and far more likely to attend college.
The Family resource center is proud to be home to two mentoring programs. The Youth Mentoring Program was established twenty years ago and is designed to match youth with a one-on-one mentor that can act as a stable, caring adult that exposes the child to positive activities and provides a consistent listening ear. Currently, we have 18 wonderful mentors matched with local youth. Additionally, a silver lining of the pandemic has been that we’ve been able to run small group mentoring sessions which we hope to continue. This past summer youth participated in yoga, art, cooking, music, and pool parties during Summer Connections and this past fall we offered academic tutoring in conjunction with a Kids’ Cooking Club in partnership with the San Juan Island Grange.
The second program is the First-Generation Higher Education Program, launched at the end of 2019. This program seeks to serve high school juniors and seniors that are the first in their families to attend college or a vocational program by matching them with a mentor that understands the process. The mentor commits to meeting with the youth twice a month through their first year of college, addressing questions ranging from scholarship applications to basic life skills. The program is also planning to host life skills workshops. Currently, we have three active mentors in the program, and a few mentors waiting to be matched with a youth.
Despite the difficulty of this past year, we have had the privilege of witnessing the impact of our mentors on the youth that they work with. Throughout the pandemic mentors have kept spirits up by sending cards and packages, creatively connecting kids to the outdoors with kites, hikes, and art, teaching driving lessons and rollerblading, and giving continual positive affirmation and advice. Mentees report that their mentor was one of the people they were most grateful for in their life.
So, if you’re ready to make a difference as a mentor please let us know by contacting Delphina Liles, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-378-5246.
Thank you to youth mentors Zoe Froyland; Craig Staude; Sarah Younglove; Dennis Conrad; Jan Murphy; Jeanne Peihl; Declan Place; Nancy Best; Mary Grove; Kelley Unger; Alan Budwill; Ander Cole; Lloyd Thompson; Jamie Rice; Tanja Williamson; Dawn Alger; Mark Alger; and Robyn Carbuccia.
Thank you to the first-generation mentors Michel Vekved, Brian Clark and Heidi Lopez.