“What does it take to be a mentor?” There isn’t a simple answer to that question, but there are a few things that we value above all at Silver Lining Mentoring. Chief among them are; consistency, communication and adaptability to meet a young person where they are. Julie, Program Coordinator at SLM, spoke with recently matched mentor Tim as part of their regular check-in that mentors have with SLM staff.
Tim talked about his experience being matched with a mentee, some of his overall concerns and what excites him about being a mentor.
What were your thoughts when you learned that you would be matched with a young person?
It was a tad nerve-wracking, to be honest. Even though SLM does a thorough screening and background check before mentors ever meet their mentees, I entered my initial meeting with Chris hoping that we had enough in common to develop a strong bond. Fortunately, there are several commonalities and we are off to a great start! It was a very easy process and everything went smoothly; the ice breakers were very helpful for both Chris and myself.
Did you have any concerns at first about being a mentor?
No major concerns, but I was a bit worried about whether or not I possess “what it takes” to be a strong mentor. I imagine this is a common feeling for most new mentors and I certainly felt it as well. While everyone is very good at reminding you that you’re there just to be the mentee’s friend (at least at first while you’re building the relationship), I was still worried about whether or not I’d be able to make a connection and leave a positive mark on Chris’ life.
What was your first meeting with your mentee like?
Very relaxed. The ice breakers helped grease the wheels and get both Chris and I talking. There wasn’t any pressure and most of the meeting was just about getting to know the basics. I left that match meeting with enough knowledge of Chris to get the ball rolling on our first in-person meeting and it has really helped me come up with ideas for fun activities when Chris and I are together.
What excited you most about being a mentor?
I often times think about how many positive mentors I’ve had in my life and how highly I think of them. Unfortunately, many children and young adults don’t have the support structure in place that I was given growing up and I find it exciting that I can play that role for Chris. I hope that one day Chris thinks as highly of me as I do my mentors, because that would mean I have positively impacted Chris’ life in a meaningful and permanent way.
Thus far, I am very fortunate not to have found myself in a situation where I need a lot of support. Chris is a great kid and we have really had a good time getting to know one another. That said, if a situation ever arises where I do need support, I know my program coordinator is just an email away!
Community Based Mentors support young people one-to-one in their communities, with the goal of creating a consistent, long-term connection. Both Tim and Chris love Indiana Jones and have already watched a movie together! Tim hopes to use Chris’ passion for video games to help him look into to potential careers in that field. Silver Lining is excited to watch their relationship grow!