Why Mentoring Matters

Our mentor program brings together youth and adults in real, meaningful friendship. Mentors commit to spending a minimum of one hour each week with their “mentee.” Youth who are waiting at the top of the wait list for a mentor rarely have visitors or leave campus. They long for a friend who is theirs and theirs alone.

“The initial introductory meeting is always exciting,” says Vicky Leitnaker, who heads up the program. “You never know what might happen when introducing two strangers!”

One thing Vicky is most convinced of is the extraordinary impact a mentor can make in the life of a child. Many of these kids have been repeatedly let down by the adults in their lives, and these consistent visits from a mentor build trust.

Coleen Davis began her mentoring in December. Paired with a feisty eight-year-old whose red curls matched her temperament, Coleen took on the challenge. The mother of four young children herself, she was undaunted by her mentee’s swinging emotions.

“I knew I would become attached to my mentee, and I knew she would probably enjoy our time together,” shares Coleen. “However, I didn’t know how important I would be to her. She needs our time together and depends on my visits on an entirely different level than my kids.”

Coleen realized that beyond the residential staff and her therapist, she had become the most stable person in her mentee’s life. Mentors spend time with their mentees doing a variety of activities ranging from visiting parks, taking walks, attending community events or just hanging out playing board games and painting nails. They find a rhythm that works, and both parties look forward to their weekly visits.

Becoming a mentor is a very real opportunity to not only change the life of a child, but to have yours changed as well.

Become a Mentor