Mentor highlight: Lynn Johnson from Hyde Square Task Force

As part of our 20 Challenges in 2012 campaign, we are highlighting 20 inspirational mentors from across the Commonwealth. Mentors are some of the most humble and giving people. But what got them interested in becoming a mentor and what has the experience meant to them? By telling their stories, we hope to encourage more people like them to become mentors. Have an idea for a great mentor for us to highlight? Contact Lauren Winfree at lwinfree@massmentors.org

This guest post was written by Karen Boss, manager of communications and individual funding at Hyde Square Task Force.

Lynn Johnson is one of 77 mentors who mentored 101 Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) youth in grades 9 through 12 this year. She teaches in the history department at Boston College and during her daughter’s college process, she “was blown away by how complicated it has become” and wanted to help others.

She knew about Hyde Square Task Force because students she taught have volunteered with HSTF in the past and liked their experience. She originally made a one-year commitment, but like many HSTF mentors, will return next year.

Lynn says she likes seeing the work HSTF is accomplishing, and says “walking into the building is great - there is so much good energy there.” Lynn became a donor this year as well, explaining that “getting to know staff and youth made me want to do a little bit more for the organization."

She’ll be assigned a new mentee next year, since her current mentee, Merilin Castillo, will graduate. “It’s been a great experience. We’ve learned from each other,” she says.

Lynn is currently working on a book about the history of immigration in Boston, and she’s learned some inside information from Merilin, whose parents immigrated to Boston from the Dominican Republic.

“I’m looking forward to being a mentor again next year," Lynn says. "Mentoring is critical. Young people who have been mentored have a level of confidence and get something out of their education that others don’t.”

Hyde Square Task Force's mission is to develop the skills of youth and their families so that they are empowered to enhance their own lives and build a strong and vibrant urban community. www.hydesquare.org