-Tell us about your role and position at your agency?
My role at Children’s Friend and Family Services is as Director of the Youth Mentoring program. With four offices out of Salem, Gloucester, Lynn and Lawrence, we cover a lot of ground with nearly 50 matches! I work with volunteers, schools, and local community organizations to make sure our matches have many local opportunities for learning, fun, and community membership. Children’s Friend and Family Services is 177 years old, so we have a real legacy to maintain and the youth mentoring program is a part of that!
-What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is match support- I enjoy meeting up with the matches to work on goal setting, brainstorming new activities, and hearing their fun stories. It makes me really proud to know I’m helping their match grow stronger!
-Is there a particular story of a match that you are particularly proud of?
I’m very proud of all of my matches! One really great story has happened recently. One of our matches from Cape Ann (Mary and Joy) have been together for 5 years. In that time, Joy has just graduated from high school while working as a shift manager at a local restaurant. Joy taught Mary about texting and lots of other life lessons, and Mary helped Joy work on positive decisions, encouraged her studies, and made sure that she wasn’t working too hard. Joy works a lot to help out her family. This fall, Joy will be a freshman at Bridgewater State University, where she has a full tuition scholarship. Joy recently wrote a letter to our program and said, “Thanks to [the program] I am able to attend Bridgewater State University in the fall, majoring in Accounting and minoring in Criminal Justice. Hopefully these degrees can help better finance my family later in life and we no longer will live under the “low income” status. I am very grateful and honored to be able to better my life and begin a new chapter toward something successful.” She’s a wonderful young woman, and she and Mary were a GREAT match.
-What is your program doing to celebrate this year’s Red Sox Mentoring Challenge?
Thanks to the support of the Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Red Sox Mentoring Challenge, Children’s Friend and Family Services welcomed interested community members to celebrate our current mentors and meet as future mentors at a mentoring reception on Monday, August 25th at the Hawthorne Hotel in historic downtown Salem! This event included information sharing and awards to three current mentors for their amazing work with their mentees! Through this summer, as a part of the Red Sox Mentoring challenge, Children’s Friend and Family Services recruited more than a dozen interested mentors; half of whom are already matched with their mentee, and the other half who are in the final stages of orientation and training. The Red Sox are a national legacy, but more than that, the team feels like family to us here in Massachusetts and Fenway feels like all of our backyards! We’re so proud to be involved in the Red Sox Mentoring Challenge, because it reminds us that we have our community’s support and that mentoring is a movement much bigger than us!
-What would you say to those who are on the fence about mentoring?
Mentors are like a secret key that unlock the gates for fun, trust, support, and wisdom. This program is entirely voluntary on both ends. By going on walks on the beach or sharing a meal, mentors get to share a part of themselves with a young person who is excited and proud to spend time together. Mentoring is a unique and powerful opportunity!