So it has been quite awhile (over 2 months!) since the first APIE Mentor post. September and October were extremely busy as we worked to get returning mentors started again and trained new mentors as well as new Mentor Contacts for the schools. In the last two months, we have trained over 125 new mentors and have over 800 registered mentors! The Mentor Contacts have been working hard to quickly match mentors with students and we have seen some really amazing reunions between mentors and students.
The first story is from a mentor who started his second year with the program in September. I was so impressed by the activities he is doing with his student. I definitely could not make a hovercraft in elementary school.. or in college!
“I am returning as a mentor this year at two schools. The boy I mentored last year at one school is now a 5th grader and we’re scheduled to meet on Monday’s. We like to work on “engineering” projects and talk about radio controlled airplanes and such. Last year we made simple hovercraft devices (balloon + CD disk + water bottle nozzle) for the class and it was a big hit. This year I think we’ll work on a people sized hovercraft!”
This story really made my day. We have been trying to reconnect this mentor and her student since last spring. They had been working together since 4th grade and the student was now entering 9th grade. We were finally able to find out which high school the student was attending and set up their first meeting at the beginning of October. The counselor said that when she asked the student if she would like to meet with her mentor again, “she was very excited. Her face really lit up when I gave her the info.” For those of you who haven’t worked with teenagers before, it takes a lot for them to show just how excited they really are! The mentor later reported that her first visit was wonderful. They spent the time catching up and the mentor could not believe how grown up her student had become in just one year!
Some of the best relationships develop over the course of several years, as mentors really get to know their students and have the opportunity to see them grow up before their eyes. Especially as students transition from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school, the consistency of a mentor can be very reassuring. While some students want to venture out into their new school without a mentor, it is important that they know someone cares about them and is only a phone call away.