When a mentor and mentee come together to forge a relationship that is positive and meaningful for both, it’s a true success. Recently, YouthZone celebrated the graduation of a Pals Mentoring relationship that lasted four years and created a bond between both the mentor and mentee that will continue long after the formal mentor relationship has ended.
Four years ago, a young man, Adam, came to YouthZone in need of a mentor. Adam, the eldest of three children and son of a single mother, was paired with Paul, a gentleman in his senior years who was hoping to provide a youngster with guidance and support. As the years progressed, this surrogate grandfather/grandson relationship blossomed to one of mutual friendship and respect.
“Adam was a shy young man when he first entered his mentoring relationship with Paul,” said Patty Schaffner, Director of YouthZone’s Pals Mentoring program. “As he spent more and more time with Paul, he came out of his shell more and is now more talkative, expressive and confident.”
The success of Adam and Paul’s relationship can be attributed to a number of factors, including the commitment of all parties involved. Paul made a concentrated and dedicated effort to devote time and attention to Adam, taking him to the movies and bowling on a regular basis, in addition to attending YouthZone’s organized activities. Paul’s wife often supported the relationship as well, often joining in on their activities. Adam also helped the relationship be successful in his willingness to keep the lines of communication with his mentor open.
“Adam’s mother was also integral in ensuring this mentoring relationship thriving,” said Schaffner. “She encouraged Adam to open up and take advantage of his quality time with Paul. And, despite being a busy mom with three kids, she made sure that Adam had time to spend with Paul on a regular basis. In a nutshell, this was simply a recipe for a great match.”
Adam and Paul’s mentoring relationship began when Adam was ten years old. Now, as he enters high school, the formal relationship comes to an end, as Adam has blossomed into a confident, smart young man. Having experienced such enjoyment with the Pals Program, Adam is considering becoming a Teen Pal Mentor, so he can be a positive influence on another young person.
While the formal, Pals Mentoring program has come to an end for Adam and Paul, both are committed to keeping in touch and being a part of each other’s lives.
“I will never say goodbye,” said Paul. “This young man is now a part of my heart.”
If you would like to become a mentor to a young person in our community, contact Patty Schaffner at 970-945-9300 today!