Sharon’s decision to become a mentor in Sonoma, even while working and traveling for her job, reflects her deep commitment to making a positive impact on her community. Her initial perception that mentoring might only be possible after retirement changed when she received the simple but powerful advice: “It’s an hour a week.” This advice encouraged her to take the leap and start mentoring Leo, a 5th-grade student at Flowery Elementary.
Despite her work-related travels, Sharon’s dedication to her mentoring relationship with Leo was unwavering. Leo’s desire to know when she would be there, rather than receiving postcards, emphasized the importance of consistency and presence in their mentorship journey. “He just wanted to know when I would be back – and for him, that was all he needed,” Sharon explained.
Their shared favorite activity of going out to eat, especially at Jack in the Box, became a special way for them to connect and bond. These outings weren’t just about the food; they were opportunities for meaningful conversations about life’s ups and downs, which further strengthened their mentor-mentee relationship.
Mentoring teens can present unique challenges, but Sharon found valuable support from the mentoring team and facilitators who understood the specific needs of youth this age. The learning process was mutual – while Sharon was learning how to support Leo through his teen years and through middle and high school, Leo was also learning how to be a good mentee. The Mentor Site Facilitators often put on training sessions for the mentees – and after the last session Sharon received a note from Leo that warmed her heart.
Leo’s note expressing his gratitude for Sharon’s kindness and their time together is a heartwarming testament to the positive impact of mentoring. But, as we all know , it’s not about notes and recognition, it’s about changing lives. Leo and Sharon have played pivotal roles in each other’s lives and through their story – and the story of countless others, we’re reminded that just one hour a week really can change a life!
Thank you Sharon – and thank you Leo.