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Why I Mentor: A Reflection from Joe.

Two plus years ago, my mentoring journey commenced in December, fueled by a deep-seated desire to contribute to my community. This calling didn’t surface spontaneously; it had been simmering within me since 2014. The pivotal moment occurred in July 2015, during Sonoma’s 4th of July parade, where I spotted the Mentoring Alliance—an indelible memory that lingered for years. As time passed and life permitted, I found myself drawn back to that memory, exploring ways to contribute locally, and the Mentoring Alliance stood out as the perfect avenue.

However, it wasn’t until 2021 that everything fell seamlessly into place. Carving out dedicated time, engaging in thorough research, and navigating the onboarding process led to the significant moment when I was matched with Jordan, then a 5th grader. Our initial meeting at Prestwood marked the beginning of a transformative journey that continues at Adele Harrison Middle School.

Jordan and I share a unique bond rooted in creativity and building. In the earlier days at Prestwood, we spent a precious hour each week in the craft area, constructing new projects or adding to ongoing ones. As he transitioned to middle school, our activities evolved. Our meetings expanded from one hour at the mentor center to several hours one afternoon per week outside the mentor center. Together, we undertook diverse projects—from building planters to home improvements. Our shared interests extended beyond crafting to include movies, mini-golf, arcades, and even exploring the intricate process of winemaking, from the vineyards to bottling.

Our conversations traverse various facets of life, embedding valuable lessons. Jordan, wise beyond his years, displays a keen interest in finances and entrepreneurship. We delve into practical aspects of running a small business, exploring hypothetical ventures like a leaf-raking enterprise, covering topics such as inventory management and the cost of goods. These discussions are not only educational for him but also invigorating for me.

This mentoring experience has offered me an unexpected depth of gratitude and satisfaction. What started as a guidance relationship has blossomed into a genuine friendship, not only between Jordan and me but also among our families. My wife and I also spend quality time with Jordan’s mom and siblings, creating a broader sense of community.

Reflecting on this journey, I realize the profound impact of our familial bond. We consider ourselves fortunate to have each other in our lives. 

To those contemplating mentoring, I offer this perspective: there are 8760 hours in a year, and the Mentoring Alliance asks for just 30. The commitment is minimal, but the rewards are immeasurable. The process is seamless, with ample support, education, and coaching. If your heart is ready, the journey is not just easy but transformative. Trust me; those 30 hours are just the beginning of a fulfilling and enriching experience that can extend far beyond initial expectations.

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