From Van (Mentor):
Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding areas of my life. My mentee and I met over five years ago. Initially, she was a bit shy and I was “green” at being a mentor, so it took a little while for us to connect, but once we did, it was full speed ahead.
I did not initially think I was equipped to be anyone’s mentor, let alone one that is faith-based. I sure I was not the only one that initially believed that the responsibility of being a mentor was too great. I thought I had to be this “perfect” person, especially in a faith-based organization. I soon found that being me was good enough, and most important.
As a woman, there is nothing better than to know you have made a difference in someone’s life. Shanna has been the little sister that I always wanted. We have talked on the telephone for hours, took a long driving trip to a concert with one of her favorite musical groups, I had the opportunity to share a mutual interest, the law and encourage her in her debating efforts. One of the greatest moments, and there were many, was the day I was with her family at her high school graduation! She just knew I was going to cry. . . I was so proud, I forgot to cry!
She is very respectful and kind. We have not had many challenges in our relationship. I have watched her grow from a very shy, sometimes quiet young lady into someone that has joined the debate team in high school, spoke up for herself and is very wise in many ways. I believe we have both grown to respect and care for each other. She is very open to advice and I am honored when she has listened to my opinion on some serious matters in her life. She has taught me how to listen more and to have someone outside of my family that I can trust. As she grows into a young lady, I am able to share more things with her.
I’m looking forward to continuing our relationship. I know she is on the road to becoming everything that God has in store for her. Shanna is not your average young lady; she is awesome, sensitive and very caring. I am very, very happy to have been chosen to be her mentor. We have both decided that our relationship will last for many years to come!
From Shanna (Mentee):
When I first found out I'd be getting a mentor in 2007, I was very hesitant. When we first arrived at the “Meet and Greet”, I was very nervous, and then I met my mentor, Ms Van. I was shy and I didn't open up to her until we went on our first outing to the Smithsonian in DC. I had a blast! Our relationship bloomed from there! We are so much alike and she is my inspiration! A big sister! A mother figure! And a friend all in one! I love her so much! I'm glad that I have her in my life. She pushes me to better Shanna and for that I am always grateful!