Mentor – To advise or train (someone, especially a younger person)

About a month ago I sat with J, Belle and my baby brother, Chris, at a Mexican restaurant. Our original intention had been to advise Belle on what moving out would cost. Cramming tortilla chips and salsa down my gullet…I imparted my wisdom. “Turn the heat down when you leave. Ramen is a better choice than a store bought mocha. Body wash and shampoo are the same thing…save your money.” Around the second basket of chips…Belle waned and we lost her. She was fighting a stomach bug and our constant daggers of advice were pushing her to her limit.

Conversation turned to some of the kids at Chris’s school.  He works at a local elementary school that has a 99% population of kids that are living in or under the poverty line. 99%!!!!! In addition to the stresses that come with living in this economic bracket a lot of these kids have domestic abuse in the home and/or are foster children. The behaviors that some of the kids were exhibiting had Chris worried and overwhelmed. He wanted to help them all…but how much can one person do. An idea began over the quesadillas and a mentor program was beginning to blossom.  I’m happy to report that 4 days ago…we launched that mentor program!!!

After the high fives (ok…my brother and I don’t high five..we kind of just grunt approval at each other)…I sat to put together an itinerary and some words of advice to our volunteers (we currently sit at a whopping 2 volunteers). Mentoring is hard to describe and to define. I mean…according to my Australian King…Siri…it’s “to advise and train.” How do I tell these people the RIGHT way to do this? I’ve got some mulling….Give me a day.