At Andson, we are striving to diversify our programs and give back in our local and surrounding communities in exciting new ways. Being that we are a small group - this is easier said than done. One area that we want to expand on is mentoring. This has not been a mass effort - nor has it been achieved on a broad scale.
The impacts we've made however, certainly are significant to those we've mentored.
Most youths mean well - they may have a few traits that need "tweaking," or they could even need guidance that is lacking on the home or school front. We want to touch on two cases that were encountered in the past few months where individuals from Andson have made genuine impacts on the lives of young people.
Jason is a youth from a Boys & Girls Club who had his future in order - he graduated from high school knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his life (culinary career), had the certifications to do so (through his unique charter school), and proved to be an outstanding youth in the club, at his school, and in the community. One area that he struggled in, however, were the finer points of reading- as in completing the long, complicated paperwork that many teens have assistance with from parents or guidance counselors. Jason had never moved forward on his FAFSA form; each time, he either had computer issues, or didn't know how to complete a particular section. He was on his own, and the deadline was approaching. An individual here at Andson was able to assist him through this process (as well as document it for our blog) and got his application in on time. It wasn't that he didn't want to complete the application - he knew the financial consequences if he didn't - but he really needed someone there to make sure he checked the right boxes and read through each individual section. He may have not completed this application on time, and may have missed out on a semester of college without our help.
The time then came where Jason wanted to get his driver's license. He called upon Andson to help with studying for the written portion of the test. Confused, but happy to help, we came to his rescue, and found he had failed the driver's test 3 different times. Jason could drive, he was even a good driver - but reading through the questions and preparing for a written exam was not his strength. Here was a young adult that works extremely well in his trade, but needed assistance with 2 very important pieces of growing up.
Bobby is our second example. Here is a boy whose parents had no intention of trying to raise him with any sense of values or morals. At the age of 7, Bobby had never been to school, and had been encouraged to steal when necessary for his "family." Through nothing short of a miracle, he was able to be adopted by another family member and moved to a home that encourages healthy habits - one of those being actually attending school. By finding out about Bobby, we were able to work with him over the summer and help improve his reading skills, closer to that of a first grade level. It was also amazing to see his personality transform so quickly from untrusting and removed, to that of what a child should be. He is now involved in Andson Academics, after- school tutoring program to solidify the work done over the summer.
These are just two examples of how individual-to-individual relationships can change futures. Andson wants to explore methods for mentoring youths of all ages and various backgrounds. We hope to make this a core activity of our organization in the near future.
(names changed for privacy)