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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first mentor is Madison Horl from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest.
- Tell us briefly about yourself
My name is Madison Horl and I'm an intern at Big Brothers Big Sisters. My mentee is Belinda Peprah, and she is 11-years-old. We are matched through the Grafton Street School in Worcester.
- Who was/is your mentor?
My mentor is my father. From a very young age my dad taught me to go after my dreams, never quit, and strive to make everyone around me a little more happy.
- Why is mentoring important to you?
I believe that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been blessed with wonderful role models, and countless opportunities throughout my life that have put me on the path to success. Through mentoring it is my hope that I have and will continue to inspire my little and provide her with the support she needs to reach her fullest potential.
- What inspired you to become a mentor?
Honestly, I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters because I was incredibly homesick. I wanted to become involved in the city of Worcester, and as the oldest of four children I knew that I could easily relate to children.
- Did you find that you had any ideas about mentoring that were proven true or untrue once you started your match relationship?
During pre-match trainings I learned that mentees are often hesitant to trust their mentors from the get-go. I saw this first hand with my little, who took some time to truly open up. But, throughout that period of time we were able to get to know each other and build a friendship that is now incredibly strong.
- What do you think is the most important thing a mentor can do for a child?
I think that it is incredibly important for a mentor to be a consistent source of support for their mentee. Children, especially those with inconsistent family situations, find solace in knowing they have someone they can rely on for company and advice.
- What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had mentoring?
My most rewarding experience as a mentor has been watching my little grow up into an incredible young woman. Belinda has impressive manners, and is able to hold herself in a crowds of children and adults alike. Hearing Belinda talk about wanting to be the first person in her family to be college educated warms my heart.
- What is the best advice you’ve given your mentee/what is something important you have taught him/her?
Throughout the past year I have brought Belinda back to campus with me many times. During her visits, I taught her to always firmly shake an adults hand while introducing herself. Most adults are incredibly impressed by her poise and confidence, and she absolutely loves meeting new people. Deep down I hope that her presence and dynamic personality will help her to succeed in whatever career path she chooses.
- What advice would you give to other adults looking to become mentors?
In order to become a good mentor, it is important to be open to challenges, but remain consistently supportive for a mentee. When given the privilege of mentoring someone you the opportunity to help someone else realize the potential that they might otherwise not have noticed.