Mentoring 365 Project: The Drive to MentorJune 8, 2015
Deena joined Kids ‘n’ Kinship as a mentor two years ago simply as a way of becoming involved in mentoring and becoming a caring adult for any youth she would have the opportunity to interact with. Deena came into her first formal mentoring relationship with previous experience raising children of her own as well as involvement with various church groups.
Deena was matched with a young girl named Talia through Kids ‘n’ Kinship’s school-based program. But their relationship has grown to encompass out-of-school activities as well. Deena has embraced the opportunity to mentor happily, as she is now in her second year mentoring Talia. The two recently celebrated the two year anniversary of their mentoring relationship in January.
“I think it has filled this void that I had once my kids were grown and gone. I missed the young kids in our church group; the kids were pretty much phasing out of there.”
Deena demonstrates one of the most important attributes of a great mentor, she simply cares. Deena expressed how her mentoring experience with Talia has been a way to both return to doing things she would do with her kids and explore hobbies she would not generally pursue as an adult. Deena also acknowledged the impact it has had on her to see Talia grow through their mentoring relationship, leading to her own growth. Deena recounted an experience between her and Talia in which she had the chance to share letters she exchanges with a young girl in Kenya through a program called Compassion International. The letters allowed Deena to share information about another culture with Talia, and allow Talia to ask questions about the differences in lifestyle between the U.S and Kenya. Just that exchange promotes a mindset within the mentee to ask questions and promotes a continued interest in differences between cultures.
“My favorite part is just being able to do fun little things that you don’t do as an adult. Just playing some games or decorating Christmas cookies.”
Deena’s continued dedication to mentoring and drive to stay involved come as no surprise. She has found the support of her own mentors in many different settings. Deena highlighted people such as her parents’ friends, her friends’ parents and youth group leaders as some of the individuals that played a substantial role in her healthy development as a youth. Deena and Talia have been grown so much closer over the last two years, and continue to bond through the many activities they participate in. Deena truly is a great example for mentoring. Her involvement comes from a place of simply wanting to be that caring adult for a young person. She cares about the children in her community and her church and is a committed supporter of their healthy development.