Tanner’s mom was sometimes overwhelmed as a single parent working and raising a son and daughter on her own, in a small apartment. She looked to Reach Our Youth for a mentor to help her active son participate in positive activities, avoid the Juvenile Court system (family history of Court involvement) and thrive as a child. Don became his mentor and since all of his kids had been in 4-H, it seemed a natural fit for Tanner to become involved as well. Tanner raised and showed livestock at the county fair. He spent a lot of time in the country at the mentor’s home, where he was able to constructively release all of that energy. The entire family became a positive influence on his life. Tanner is grown up now and they still stay in touch. Through mentoring, Tanner avoided the Court system and gained the skills to handle his adult life today.
Shawn is a 16 year old boy from a family of 8 children who has been with the Reach Our Youth program since he was 6 years old. Since his mother only speaks Spanish, Melissa, his mentor, has assisted Shawn with school paperwork and other necessary school communications. She has been involved with his sports activities, attending his track and soccer events. Melissa encourages Shawn to try new things, and he is looking forward to learning to drive and joining the military in the future.
Kristopher is from a single parent family and started Reach Our Youth when he was 10 years old. His mentor, Aaron, volunteered for the program and became a mentor when he was in high school! Together, Kristopher and Aaron enjoyed playing Fortnite, fishing, basketball, and farm related activities. Although Aaron just graduated and will now be attending college, his three brothers are looking forward to continue to mentor Kristopher.
Vivian comes from a single parent family and lives in an apartment with four siblings. She had little opportunity to participate in extra-curriculars until her mentor, JoAnne, encouraged her to try different activities. Vivian loves sports now! She has discovered volleyball, bicycling, and running. JoAnne also introduced her to cooking and eating healthy.
Ariel, aged 11, lives with her grandfather and has had a difficult family history. She enjoys being one on one with her mentor, Sophie. Together, they talk about friendships and boys and spend time at the park or playing board games. Ariel has become involved with ROY activities and has become a helper at group activities such as setting up and sign-ins. In the future, girl want to become a Reach Our Youth mentor when she reaches 16. She calls her mentor, Sophie, “my favorite friend.”
Amanda stopped by the ROY office recently to introduce herself and share her mentoring story. She is an adult now and is married with a family. Amanda graduated from college in the field of social work. Amanda and her brothers were raised by their grandparents. Her Reach Our Youth mentor, Ann, lived in the Willard area and worked as a school secretary. Ann recognized the value of mentoring through her work and eagerly volunteered to mentor. The two women formed a close bond. Amanda excelled in academics and Ann encouraged her to attend college. She was the first child in her family to graduate from college. All these years later, Amanda still remains in contact with her mentor and cherishes their relationship and the life lessons she learned along the way from Ann.
Maureen had raised her sons and found that even with working full-time and having a busy life with her husband and family, something was missing. She missed having children in her life; Reach Our Youth came to the rescue and filled that void! Maureen preferred to mentor a young boy, since she had experience raising her own sons. Her husband agreed to assist and provide the positive, male, role model influence for the mentee, Evan. He enjoyed going to their house for home cooked meals, doing homework together and learning “guy stuff” like repairing small engines, operating tools and driving a tractor. These mentors saw Evan through to his high school graduation and off to college his freshman year with tears in their eyes. They remain close friends to this day.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.