April 29, 2021

Stories to share:

So great to see you:  The absolute highlight of this month was seeing 3 student and mentor pairs reconnect in person for the first time since the pandemic started last March. Seeing their faces light up with joy was priceless!  One mentor remarked about how his mentee had grown about 6 inches. We actually looked at his previous picture to verify the huge change.  Another told me that she and her student had the absolute best conversation they have ever had!  I have 2 more pairs who are planning to meet in person next week for the first time in a year.  They can’t wait to see each other!

Respect and grace:  I enjoy seeing how interpersonal skills play out in relationships as students and mentors demonstrate the value that they place on their time together and show care in their interactions.  Earlier this week a student came to find me because she had a dentist appointment and needed to let her mentor know.  She didn’t want to cancel on her, but definitely wanted to reschedule.  This morning another mentor let me know that unfortunately he had to cancel a planned visit today, but had a very good reason.  I messaged the student to let him know.  His response to his mentor: “Don’t worry.  Stuff happens.  Talk to U next week.”

Sense of humor:  Having a sense of humor helps cope with difficult times.  One student and mentor have been meeting all year over zoom. The student has had problems with connectivity if he turns his camera on, so he leaves it off during their meetings. The mentor has been talking to him all year with a blank screen showing only the student’s sign on name—it doesn’t seem to interfere with their conversation at all.  Last week I told them I would like to take their end of year picture, and asked if the student could  turn on his camera just for that?  They decided it would be a fun memory to take the picture only showing the mentor and the students’ blank screen with his name.  Why not?  Great momento of this strange year.

They’re back!  Most students returned to campus the week of April 19th.  It feels like a real school here again!

Program Update:

  • 18 mentor/mentee pairs have been meeting each week in person at the high school either after school or on Fridays
  • 3 more pairs reconnected in person this month after not seeing each other since March 2020!
  • 9 mentor/mentee pairs have been meeting regularly in the community with off-campus contract privileges
  • A few other pairs are meeting via zoom weekly or bi-weekly
  • continuing with 6 pairs on the text bridge pilot

Mentor Training/Support

  • Therapuetic Mentoring Course:  I completed this 20-hour course online through University of Massachusetts Boston. Thank you to the donor who covered the fees for this course.  My next step is to incorporate lessons learned into our mentor programs and share with the other coordinators as we look toward next year.
  • Mentoring for Equity Course:  Attending a 3 part course offered through Mentor Washington to learn and see how we can better train and prepare our mentors.  First session was great!

Upcoming:

  • Planning toward “End of the Year” wrap up.  Taking photos of all pairs, getting Edaleen gift cards for their last meetings, and letting them know we are wrapping up meetings by June 4th.  Updated our end of the year surveys for students. Interviews with Partners for Schools will take place the week of May 17th.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Course:  Working on setting dates for the end of this year and again in August.  Brian and I will be able to co-teach and offer this to mentors and community members.