Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mentoring 2008

When I quit my job as a sign language interpreter/teacher in 2000, I was relieved. I couldn't wait to get a real job with real adults (not the counting-the-moments-until-retirement teachers) and have real conversations about things other than 'Who do you like better: NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?'

So, there I into the real world. And as I went through my day, I felt something missing. Real adults? Check! Real conversations? Check! Took me two years of temp jobs to figure it out - the kids. I miss the kids!

I had been at The Company for a couple of months as the Corporate Receptionist when a group of high schoolers came through with swag from the set of FRIENDS ~ shirts, pencils, mugs, pictures. So, I asked a) where did you get that stuff and b) where did you come from to get that stuff? Turned out the kids were part of The Company's inaugural Mentoring Program. The kids were from A Place Called Home who, in association with Youth Mentoring Connection, partnered with The Company. I would see these kids every couple of weeks, listen to them talk about the program and their mentors; I would see some of the mentors everyday, listen to them talk about the program and their kids (mentees). I wanted to be part of it!

When I had moved into a role within The Company which would allow me the flexibility to participate, I signed up for the Mentoring Program. I was a mentor to Erick for two years; then a mentor to Marqietta for two years. Last year I took a break. In August, I signed up again.

Two weeks ago, all of the mentors and the kids got together for food, games and bowling at Jillian's. The casual environment allows all to feel comfortable mixing and mingling, trying to find out what's what. Such a thrill to see so many kids participating (almost 50)! There were several kids who had been in the program for a few years - and I loved seeing and reconnecting with them. The point of the evening? For the kids to find an adult he/she connects with and vice versa. I was able to meet all of the kids, made connections with most and asked the program directors about one kid in particular. At the end of the evening, everyone gets a sheet of paper and is asked to list the 3 people he/she has made a connection with. No guarantees! Just your preferences. I skipped #1 and #2. On line #3 I wrote - "Boy or girl. You know me. Pair me with the person who will get the most from and give the most to me."

On Tuesday, we found out our mentor/mentee pairings for the year:

Introducing ~ Rissa & Gerica!

Isn't she adorable?! I'm super excited about mentoring and can't wait to get to know my new friend!


the slackmistress said...


Lys said...

What a great idea. Sadly, the 9to9 frowns on all things like that here (for staff) but eeehhh.

I wanna work at The Company!

Kat said...

That's awesome. I miss the kids as well (I can't believe it's been 10 years since I last taught). I keep saying I want to mentor, but I work from home and well, I'm just not sure I'd have much to offer with my current work-from-home situation.