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Mentoring During COVID

Is it still Ground Hogs Day?  Oh no, that’s right, it’s week 8 of Sheltering-in-place!  I’m Tina Baldry, Program Director reporting to you on how mentoring has changed for me since COVID-19.  I have the privilege of mentoring two amazing girls.  Janeth and I were matched in 2002.  Eighteen years later, we connect by phone, Instagram, Facebook and have an occasional get-together.  In 2012, I was matched with Janeth’s little sister, Jasmin.  Over the past eight years, Jasmin and I met at the El Verano and Altimira Mentor Centers.  We had our ritual each week of sharing freshly popped popcorn, playing pool, enjoying games like LIFE, Heads-up, Guess Who and Monopoly.  We loved seeing other matches and visiting with our Mentor Facilitators.  All that has changed with COVID-19.  I text and there is no response, I phone and it’s a challenge to start a conversation, so I question myself, “Am I doing enough? Am I making an impact?”  Yes, even after working for the Mentoring Program for 20 years, I have doubt.  I’m a person who LOVES to connect, so I ended up in my car, equipped with mask and gloves and drove to Jasmin’s house to give her a basket of our favorite snacks.  She and Janeth were home, super surprised and excited to see me.  It warmed my heart to be together again if only for a minute and at a distance. What I find is this; these are uncertain times for our mentees, so Mentors, stay the course.  The simple act of reaching out by phone to either Facetime, talk, text or play games is enough.  To send a letter and know that you put a smile on your mentee’s face, is enough.  So to our amazing mentors, even if you reach out and don’t get a response, know that you are still making an impact by continuing to show your mentee you care. We are all in this together!

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