Youth mentoring: a microcosm of ‘community’ within our youth

By: 
Sandy Mikeson

Youth mentor Kale Kynett (left) shares a disguised moment with his mentee.    Photo courtesy of Cheryl Banness

In our world that seems to be lacking in “community”, I see the Central Montana Youth Mentoring program as an opportunity to build “community” within our youth. The matches between mentors and mentees create a small bond of cohesiveness, providing some security in a world that can be a bit disjointed. When I watched our mentors and mentees at the first large group activity, it became apparent that our high school mentors were there for the right reason: to make a difference in the life of one small child in Lewistown.

Their goal that night was apparent; to give 100 percent of their time and attention to that small child hanging out at their side. They enjoyed fellowshipping with hot apple cider, hotdogs, fruit and snacks, but better than that, they played...just plain played. It was great to watch them toss beanbags and balls and work side by side on their activities with their small human. I was impressed with the dignity they gave to their small partners, listening and giving their hearts to these younger folks. What could be better than this?  It’s an opportunity to be focused on and feel important for an hour without any other distractions. I like what I see here, this mentoring thing – a microcosm of “community” within our youth.

I attended the first mentor/mentee lunch at Garfield School, and was once again impressed with the four high school students who were with me. They worked in the classrooms with not only their mentees, but other students sitting nearby. When they joined them at lunch, they visited with all of the students at the table and at recess, they were surrounded with young children bidding for their time and attention. It was a gift to watch the big kids as role models and mentors to the children playing on the asphalt and grass.

When I met with Angela Woolett, the high school advisor, she shared my sentiments, moved to emotion as she watched her high school kids working and playing with the mentees.

There is value in this program, more than we know now, or might ever really know. Positive opportunities in the lives of our kids, we need more of this in our world.

So, thank you for allowing me to continue in my role of “being” with kids. I have enjoyed my time working with the director, Cheryl, and the board of the Central Montana Youth Mentoring program. Looking forward to what the program has to offer for the rest of the school year.

If you have a passion for helping students grow and become all they can, give us a call at 535-8899 to lend a hand.

 

Sandy Mikeson is the office assistant for the Central Montana Youth Mentoring program.

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