After five months of waiting, my mentoring program finally started today. It’s a small program with no more than 15 mentors and 15 mentees, and so far, it looks like it will be a good setup. All the mentees are in fourth or fifth grade, so they are a relatively young bunch. I haven’t been matched with anyone yet since for the first 2-3 sessions, the program leader wants all mentors to get to know all mentees, particularly in the instance that a mentor or mentee can’t make a session. In that event, the absent mentor/mentee could be replaced with someone that s/he was familiar with.
The exercise we did today involved a method like speed dating, where all the mentors sat in one row and all the mentees sat in a row sitting across and facing them. We had five minutes with each mentee before the time was up, and they had to move to the seat to their right.
Like I imagined, there was a large range of personalities and social skills in the group of mentees. I had one mentee who was really mature for her age, and she’s already traveled quite a bit around the U.S. and in the Caribbean and was telling me about her travel experiences. Another mentee was so hard to crack that it ended up feeling more like a Q&A talking to him, but the answers part was just one or two word answers from him. Some had one sibling and others had seven siblings. Some knew where San Francisco is and some had never even heard of it. But they all had eager, happy faces.
That’s what I want. I want to be around kids and people who are hopeful, even if they are painfully shy or awkward or even annoying at times.