It’s been challenging for mentors and students to connect during this time of closure due to the boundaries we have in place. Mentors have had to reach out via mail and email through the coordinator. Some have been very creative in showing that they care: sending cards, art supplies, seeds to plant, and even pizza! Students appreciate that they are not forgotten. Right before the end of the month, the district decided to allow us to try zoom meetings for mentors and students who wanted to connect that way.
One mentor sent a couple of notes to a student and an email, but hadn’t heard anything back. I called home to see if I could make contact and ended up talking to the parent. She was so glad I had called and so very worried about her son and how isolated he was feeling; she thought connecting to his mentor would be a crucial support at this time. Since everyone agreed, we set up a zoom meeting. Seeing the student’s face light up on screen and the way they talked together was priceless. Face to face contact–even virtually–seems very meaningful. They want to continue zooming together each week.
We had 50 matches: two just moved out of our district, but are trying to keep in contact long distance at this time.
With the new option to schedule zoom meetings, I had 3 matches try that at the end of the month, and they all want to set this up weekly. I hope to be able to connect more this way. It is a slow process to make contact with the student’s family and get permission. We still have many students who don’t have access to the internet at home.
This time is so challenging for everyone–of course the students and their families–and mentors as well. I have talked with several about health and financial concerns. I worry about the students I haven’t been able to reach yet. In this time, I am focused on moving forward, doing what I can to support mentors and students, and giving everyone a lot of grace.