Our youth are the heart and soul of what we do.
Each teen meets with their mentor monthly for a minimum of 2-3 hour during the school year, but most invest much more time as they realize the value in the relationship. In addition to the friendship, they explore growth opportunities in academic, vocational, and spirituality/value. For more info, see the "Process" tab!
*Names and details changed to protect privacy
When Chris’ mother reached out to me and told her story, I could feel the heart’s weight of being a single mother to several children for more than a decade, but most striking was the light of hope in her eyes as we spoke. The BIG question behind it all was this: “What could be the lifelong impact of my son having a man of quality and commitment in his life?” Chris would never call himself a “high-risk” student, but describes himself as an enthusiastic athlete and wants so much for his future. The problem is, he had no man to invest in him heart-to-heart, life-to-life, and knew taking on the unknown path forward alone was terrifying. When I, Matthew, sat down with him and his mother for the first time and laid our mentoring program before him, he stated with calm authority, “I want this for me.” A student's buy-in is vital, as this hero of a young man is determined to grow, invest, and live a life of impact. Chris is now several months into his mentoring friendship with Nathan, enjoying the fun activities and the deepening conversations. Both are being impacted in ways that will endure. They will soon be plunging into the career exploration steps that will open up a world of possibilities to Chris, a five-year plan to grow and adapt, and the relationship for which to walk the path. This is a friendship that touches the heart and strengthens the lives of Chris and his mother, his mentor Nathan, and countless others along their path. They are heroes in my book!
Chris, Nathan, and a Family
It is often assumed that if a high school student has both parents in their life, good morals or faith values invested, and the means and know-how to pursue an education, that their path forward is a simple one. My friends, that is rarely, if ever true. Bethany learned at an early age to always project that she is “okay”, even when she was quite the opposite. Our culture often ostracizes a person when they share brokenness, so we have a generation that projects highlights and smiles on their social media and in their daily peer conversation, but feel the only choice is to face the impossible things alone. When Bethany was frequently bullied by some of her “friends”, it started her on a path into a very deep hole. I won’t share the gory details here, but you can imagine the destruction within.
Bethany entered a mentoring friendship with Lisa eighteen months ago as a freshman, mostly with the intent to help her explore what to pursue during and after her high school years. They are well on their way to building a powerful vision in those areas, but the most important support and bonds built were over common challenges in their lives. It took a while to dive into the deeper things, as Bethany put on her normal “I’m okay” face and story in the beginning, but soon realized that Lisa was willing to be vulnerable in sharing her own hurts and weakness, which opened the door for Bethany to safely share. These unspeakable spaces of her life were cutting off her confidence at its root, eroding her faith, and even poisoning her relationships in her home. Since Bethany and Lisa have built a deep and enduring friendship, there has been a powerful change in her life and her relationships. She is growing into the confident and healed woman she deserves to be. There is a grateful family that now has a partner and friend in their daughter’s growth, and a much healthier relationship with Bethany as well. The reality is that even when we are surrounded by family and many good principles and support, we must still walk the perilous journey to establish our own vision and foundation of relationships, faith, academic, and career aspirations. Bethany will live a life of great purpose, knowing her value and the power of redemptive friendships!