I am a mentor for the Y-FRIENDz Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program with YMCA Youth & Family Services in San Diego. For the past year and a half I have mentored a now 10-year-old girl who has both parents in and out of prison.
It's been a great experience for me to get to know my mentee and her family personally, as well as see the challenges that this underserved population must face. I'm happy to have been a consistent and stable person in her life amidst many changes, but more than anything I've been inspired by my mentee's positive attitude and ability to adapt to so many changes in her life.
The commitment to meet a couple times a month for one year is not a big one, yet can mean so much to the children and youth who want and need one-on-one attention from a positive adult.
Simple activities like going to the park, exploring the neighborhood, or learning to take the bus are easy ways to spend quality time, teach new skills, and let your mentee know that she/he and your time together is special.