Sometimes the impact of mentoring isn't apparent even after spending a whole year with a mentee. Often, mentors won't hear about the impact of the program on a mentee until end-of-the-year evaluations or even until their mentee is in high school. Even if a mentor doesn't see an immediate impact, the long-reaching effects of the program have become apparent over time through evaluations, our alumni groups, and gatherings at the annual A Night for Hope.
When we went on the college tour, my mentee asked me to come to her track meet the following Tuesday. I was able to leave work early enough to get there (however, I was stuck in traffic for an hour). When I finally arrived I was trying to find her at the long jump or disc when I heard this voice call out my name. There she was running up to me with her arms out! She gave me a big hug and said, "You made it!" The excitement on her face was precious, even though it turned out I had missed her events.
It was unfortunate that traffic made me miss her events, yet she didn't care. She was just thrilled I came—Wow, what an impact that had on me. She then brought me to where her mother, two sisters, and grandparents were sitting and introduced me. Mom was very appreciative of the program and said how much my mentee had enjoyed it—she then asked if I would keep in contact with her after the school year. After that she went back to hang with her friends, and mom and the sisters left. However, the grandparents stayed a few minutes longer to let me know that by me showing up, it made a young girl very happy and that she would probably talk about it for days. They also wanted to express how much they appreciate this program and the mentor volunteers.
Sometimes I don't feel like I'm making an impact on someone, yet obviously we are. I left the field that day so thankful that I was able to show up, even late. Little did I know that it would mean that much to my mentee. I left with such a joy in my heart and it reminded me that its these little things we do for others that leave an impression on them. This has certainly left a lasting memory for me.
– White Bear Lake Mentor, 2012