An In-School Mentor Story
Back in 2011, as a relatively recent transplant to PEI, I realized I had developed a great affection for my new home, and I wanted to give some of my time back to my community. I have always enjoyed spending time with youth, so it was only natural that one of the first organizations I gravitated towards was Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I decided to become an In-school mentor with BBBS two years ago, and it is something that has brought great happiness and fulfillment to my life.
I thought a lot about mentorship when I initially signed up with the program. I honestly wondered how an hour a week could make a difference in someone's life. It seemed so insignificant. I am here today to say that I firmly believe that one hour can make a big difference. The hour a week I spend with my student match is an hour that is all "theirs". In today’s busy world, our time is perhaps the biggest gift we can give to another person. Taking time out of your busy day for a student is a way to show that they are valuable, that they are worth it, and that they matter. I have seen the confidence that can inspire!
I am there to listen to whatever my student match may want to talk about. Things that parents or teachers may have heard over and over or don’t have time in their busy days to hear about. I am there to play a game, make a craft, bake cookies. It's all about the student, and for at least that one hour- there are no other worries. It's an hour a day that they don't have to think about what might be troubling them, they don't have to be anyone but themselves. Who wouldn't appreciate an hour like that every week?
As someone who doesn't have kids at home, that hour is also my chance to be creative, get silly and learn what's cool with youngsters these days. It's an hour out of my day that can be a much needed break from the world. I can leave a stressful day at work behind and go sit and color for an hour with my student. As adults, I think we forget how peaceful that activity can be! I generally go back to work feeling lighter than when I left.
If anyone out there is considering signing up to be a mentor I would strongly recommend just going for it. Don’t think about it…do it! It’s not always easy, but it's such a rewarding experience- for both the student and the mentor. Being an in school mentor has shown me that anyone can make a difference in the life of a young person. And all it takes is an hour a week.