When you step foot into the Dunbar Mentor Center, you’re immediately enveloped in a sense of warmth. The walls are decorated with colorful crafts, there are pictures everywhere, and the shelves are painted with care. It’s an inviting space that beckons anyone to spend time there. But beyond the surface lies a deeper layer of love that radiates throughout the Center, and at the center of it all is MJ.
MJ has been the mentor center facilitator at Dunbar since its inception, pouring her heart and soul into creating a nurturing environment. However, as the school year comes to a close, MJ will be retiring, marking the end of an era as Dunbar Elementary itself shuts its doors. It’s a moment that calls for celebration, to honor the lasting impact she has had on countless lives.
Over the years, MJ has facilitated hundreds of matches, witnessing the transformative power of mentoring relationships firsthand. She understands the significance of having someone steadfastly standing by a child’s side as they navigate through life’s challenges. Moreover, she has seen the profound effect of mentoring on both the mentees and the mentors themselves, even as they grow into young adults.
During a recent conversation, MJ shared with us the personal impact the program has had on her life. She spoke passionately about the magic of a successful match, emphasizing that she never rushed the process. MJ was renowned in the community as a skilled and compassionate connector. She recognized the weight of responsibility in getting a match just right, and her patience paid off in the depth of the relationships that blossomed over the years.
As MJ prepares to bid farewell and embark on retirement, we celebrate impact she has had on the lives of countless individuals in the Valley. Her influence extends beyond the youth she has mentored; she has guided and nurtured the mentors themselves, leading by example in how to engage with quiet children and supporting inexperienced mentors as they found their way.
As Dunbar Elementary closes its doors, let us celebrate MJ, the heart and soul of the Dunbar Mentor Center, and honor her for the immeasurable love and impact she has shared with our community.