The Power to ‘Just Be’

When Greg decided to become a mentor, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “I had read that mentorship was one of the most powerful ways to change the world, and I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.” Little did he know that his life would change in ways he could never have imagined.

Greg was matched with Joe, a bright, curious 3rd Grade student at Flowery Elementary during the pandemic. Joe’s Mom had called the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance advocating for Joe, asking him to be on the list for a match. Having not grown up in the United States, she wanted Joe to have access to someone who could guide him through the American education system and open doors to new opportunities.

Joe and Greg started spending time together outside and quickly discovered that they both loved to build, and their shared interest in creating things brought them closer together. They have spent countless hours building with Legos, constructing targets for Nerf guns, and playing games at the park.

For Greg, mentoring Joe was more than just an opportunity to make a difference in his life. It was a chance to change the world, to be present in the moment, and to simply enjoy each other’s company. He found that he enjoyed the ability to just be with Joe, without any distractions or obligations.

“I’m not Joe’s parent, so I just get to enjoy him. We don’t have to worry about homework, or errands, or rushing off to be anywhere. We don’t have anywhere to go and can just enjoy one another. It’s a lot what I expect being a grandparent is like – it’s the power to just be.”

It’s evident in meeting both Joe and Greg that they like spending time together. At the Flowery Mentor Center, the two can be found playing Jenga – or Battle Ship – or chatting out in the school garden. Greg enjoys every moment he spends with Joe. And as their relationship continues to grow, he sees firsthand the power of mentorship and how it can change the world one person at a time.

And for Joe, it’s just fun. A partner to play with, to visit with, and to walk through life with – this partner just happens to love nerf guns and Lego. For Joe’s Mom, it’s much more, it’s an opportunity to access all that education has to offer.

Mentorship changes lives. It’s a ripple that turns into a wave—one mentorship opportunity at a time.

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