As part of our 20 Challenges in 2012 initiative to celebrate Mass Mentoring’s 20th anniversary, we are releasing a series of challenges to address key goals of mentoring in Massachusetts. Goal six is 20 ways that communities grow with mentoring. The Highland Street Corps Ambassadors of Mentoring have researched 20 ways that mentoring provides positive social benefits that strengthen schools, families and communities. You can read more about their findings here.
This guest post is from Patricia Hanson-Staples, an Ambassador at Springfield School Volunteers. She interviewed David Finkelstein and Melin Menas from Freedom Credit Union for this post.
I had been a teacher in the Springfield Public Schools for 35 years. I always had enjoyed my time as a teacher because of the interaction with students. And on many occasions, I had informally mentored students.
Two years after retiring I came back to Central High School, the school that I had retired from - but this time as a paraprofessional. At that time I was approached by a Central counselor, and asked if I wanted to become a mentor.
I accepted immediately because I understood that one caring adult can make a life-changing difference in the future of young people. And I certainly have never regretted that decision. What so many young people need is acceptance, and a way to see how life will be positive.
Many of the students who are mentees are students who are at-risk. Often times they are students who, for one reason or another, have a very negative image of themselves. What they really need is someone who will be positive and hold them accountable for their own actions and choices. It seems like a simple formula - but it does work.
I have enjoyed many fun times with mentees that they have enjoyed also - and they have achieved success because they knew that I cared and was there for them.
I would recommend being a mentor to anyone interested in a fulfilling experience that benefits the community.
From Melin M.:
I absolutely enjoy my mentoring sessions at Central High School. We discuss topics ranging from school work to music to home life – whatever she wants to discuss, I am there to listen, be a resource and hopefully guide her in a positive direction.
As a member of the business community, I believe that being a mentor is the right thing to do, and I am fortunate enough to work for a company that supports the belief of giving back to the neighborhoods in which we work and live in. After all, one day, most of these students will themselves become an integral part of our society.