An interview with Jennifer and Andrea

By Andrea and Jennifer Ingham

Andrea and Jennifer were matched through SLM’s Learn and Earn opportunity in 2014 and have continued as a match through the Community Based mentoring opportunity for over 4 years. Jennifer is a former Big Brother Big Sister mentee with lived experience in care which inspired her to become a mentor. Andrea has been an Ambassador on SLM’s behalf at many events including SLM’s Match Gala. She has participated in the annual camping trip, Provincetown Retreat and attended the True Colors Conference with SLM.

Something I appreciate about my mentee/mentor:

[Jennifer – Mentor] I appreciate that my mentee is so thoughtful and kind. She is often participating in events and opportunities that help others or bring awareness to causes she cares about.

[Andrea – Mentee] Something I appreciate about Jennifer is her energy. Jennifer is always checking in even if she’s busy and rooting for me in everything that I do. I appreciate that she also sends me birthday cards and little care packages around special events and holidays. It’s going the extra mile when she certainly doesn’t have to and her infectious fun energy that I truly appreciate about my mentor, Jennifer.

Something we like to do as a match together is… and it’s important to me because….:

[Jennifer] We like to do a little bit of everything, so my favorite thing is trying something new together. Whether that’s exploring a museum or going to a new restaurant, it’s amazing to make those memories together.

[Andrea] Jennifer and I do a little bit of everything! We dibble and we dabble in whatever strikes us as interesting. This is important to me because it builds great memories and our activities don’t get repetitive or boring. It keeps us laughing and always give us something to look back at and talk about and share with
ourselves or others.

My mentor/mentee has helped me grow because…:

[Jennifer] She has accomplished so many amazing things and continues to let her voice shine through her work with Silver Lining Mentoring. I have enjoyed seeing her speak and share her story, whether that’s on stage in the Match Gala or as part of a prospective mentor panel. She encourages me to be confident, follow my goals and work hard to achieve them.

[Andrea] Something my mentor Jennifer has helped me with is pushing myself in difficult situations like public speaking, and learning to swim. Jennifer really helped me to push myself to get on a water trampoline during our annual camping trip even though it was very difficult and I wanted to give up. She gently pushed me until we accomplished our goal of getting on that water trampoline and it was nothing but good laughs after. I appreciate her lesson on perseverance and never giving up no matter how hard a task may seem.

Being a part of the SLM community means…:

[Jennifer] Being heard, being welcomed just as you are, being supportive of others and celebrating together all the good things that are happening within the community.

[Andrea] Being a part of the SLM community means I’m able to be myself without being judged, it means that I have people around me in my life that will either try their best to support me or connect me to resources that can help me. Being a part of SLM means that I’m a part of something bigger than myself and what I’m trying to accomplish in the future. That simply means that there are others who have been in similar or worse situations than myself and we as a group/community have to use our voice to do better for them and raise awareness for what they’ve been struggling with.

Having a mentor/mentee through SLM has meant…:

[Jennifer] Being a mentor has meant more than I can say. So many great memories and experiences that truly represent the best things about being a part of a growing moment that is changing lives. I have enjoyed every moment!

[Andrea] Having a mentor through SLM has meant that I’ve had to break down my walls just a little in order to know someone new after a traumatic childhood, and connect with them. It has meant a fun learning experience in every step of the way; from the time that I’ve met Jennifer, to the time where we’re celebrating our anniversary together and much more.