Written by Heather, a Kids Hope USA parent, Kids Hope USA former mentor and an elementary school counselor
Several years ago, my church started sharing about Kids Hope USA – what it was and that we’d be going to serve in a local elementary school. I was intrigued, and during the summer before school started, I went through the process of becoming a mentor and completing the requirements.
During the first school year, I was partnered with a fourth grader. It was great; I really enjoyed it. We did some academic things, as well as social. I just tried to pour into his life.
MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS IN THE FAMILY
When I started mentoring, my son was in kindergarten. After a couple of years, due to some change in our family dynamics, I returned to work. That’s when my son became a Kids Hope USA student and met with a mentor each week.
My son and his mentor got along really well. Their relationship was a great fit. They played a lot of Legos! It became a really special relationship, going all the way through middle school. He was there for my son when he really needed it. For those key 5-6 years, it helped my son deal with things and filled a void of a relationship he was needing.
His mentor took the time to tap into his likes and interests and to just spend time together. My son even ended up being in his mentor’s wedding!
A cool part of their relationship was that not only did it benefit my son, but it also was a blessing for me and my other two kids. Recently, we connected back with his mentor, and my son and his mentor have gotten together a couple of times. My son is now a high school graduate!
SEEING THE IMPACT OF RELATIONSHIPS AS A SCHOOL COUNSELOR
In addition to having a child as a Kids Hope USA mentor, I also serve as a school counselor at an elementary school. Kids want someone to listen to them. They have so much to say. They just want to be loved and accepted. If they can have an adult pouring into them besides their family, it makes such a difference.
In my role as a counselor here, I have the opportunity to meet with students one-on-one throughout the year. In this one-on-one setting, they can open up to you and tell you lots of things. It helps establish relationships.
Kids Hope USA mentoring programs help students see that there are other caring adults aside from a teacher and a parent or two. It shows them they have value and helps to build their self-confidence. A lot of kids are excited when they know that the mentor is there just for them.
For a mentor, you’re a blessing to the child, but they are also blessing you. Anytime you can make a difference and give to someone else, you’ll see the impact it can have on their life – how it can help them learn and grow in life – whether that’s in their faith, academics, whatever it is.
Become a Mentor
Learn more about mentoring programs with Kids Hope USA by visiting our Program Page.