“All the Years”

From a Kids Hope USA Mentor:

Henry and I have been hanging out for 5 years now. Most of the time, we just read, play games, eat (because it’s over lunch hour these days), and talk. If he has some homework I help him with that as well. He’s a good kid. He’s a fun kid. We have built a great friendship, but there is always this lingering, am I really doing anything for him? Since day 1 of mentoring Henry I’ve wondered if what I was doing really was making a difference. I even had re-assurance from the teacher and others that I was making an impact, but it just never seems like enough. There’s so much more I could and want to do for him, but for now, this is where I’m supposed to be. So, I’ve decided to embrace the statements that I am making a difference even though I don’t usually feel like it. I’ve embraced just seeing him for 20-30 minutes instead of an hour some years because that’s all the time he had between classes after being in Middle School.

Last year was the first time I ever realized I was making a difference.

It was our last time being together before the summer and I always like to reassure him that I’ll be back in the fall as long as he wants me to. So I mentioned, “Well, I’m hoping to come back next year as along as that’s okay with you.”

I waited for a head nod or some affirmation that he had even heard what I said. He tends to not focus the best. Then he replied with the sweet words that have been on repeat in my head all summer long, “All the years!” With much enthusiasm and enjoyment.

That was the first verbal affirmation in 5 years that I received which leads me to believe that maybe I am making a difference. So for all those mentors out there who think they aren’t, just keep showing up and getting to know your student. YOU. ARE. MAKING. A. DIFFERENCE. Live into that truth even if you don’t feel like it most weeks. Your steady presence is impacting a life and you may not see the impact for years, but you are helping guide them to a life where they have the option to make better choices and understand those choices. Cheers to all those who will stick around for “All the years!”

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