Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Idea 26: Be a Mentor

At face value, mentoring a student at First Place is a one-hour commitment at the same time and place each week September through June. If this is what we were convincing you to do, we wouldn’t be giving you the whole truth.

If we then said that it’s also playing games, making jewelry, hanging out, playing dolls and putting together puzzles—we would still be just scratching the surface.

Mentoring is actually changing lives one hour at a time.

Lisa is a mentor who has been with First Place close to 10 years. She mentored a young student name *Maria who was very shy and barely spoke above a whisper. Lisa asked Maria what she wanted to work on with her during the year and the student said that she wanted to be able to read in front of her class.

Throughout the year, Lisa and Maria read a book together with Lisa reading a couple of pages out loud and Maria reading out loud. During that time they worked on special projects such as making bracelets for each other and other fun things. Maria told her mentor that she wants to be a doctor and Lisa introduced her to a goal chart. Each week they talked about what it takes to be a doctor and the student had certain goals that she wanted to achieve. Every week, if she made one of her goals, she got to place stars on her chart.

By the end of the school year, the chart was done and the student was able to stand up front of her class performing in the class play. This child will always remember the valuable lessons that she learned from her mentor and Maria will always hold a special place in Lisa’s heart.

Every mentor, tutor and classroom volunteer at First Place is offered training in:
  • Building positive relationships with students to improve self-esteem
  • Using non-punitive ways to encourage students’ development of life skills
  • Developing strong boundaries and healthy limits
  • Taking time for training with students to clarify expectations
  • Using “teachable moments” when students make mistakes while encouraging students to take risks
  • Using practical problem-solving methods to show students how to see problems as learning opportunities
If you are interested in learning more, contact our Volunteer Manager Joyce Scoggins at 206 323 6715.

Thank you for all of your support of our programs thus far. And remember to check back for daily updates and ideas! If you have any questions about the Idea a Day postings, please email Melissa Collett, Marketing & Events Manager.

Previous Idea a Day Posts:
Tour First Place
Keep In Touch
Dine In for First Place
Paint a Classroom

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