Mentoring Testimonial by Lynda Shorter
My experiences of being a mentor with the Meeting of the Hearts program have been “Awesome”. I learned about the program after attending an Atlanta Cares meeting held at the APEX Museum. After hearing the conversation, I knew I needed to get involved. Yes, I have a lot to give back, but it was a deep feeling in me for the love of a child who needed a little more to help them in reaching their fullest potential.
I selected the Mentoring of the Hearts program because when I read the brief description of “children with imprisoned parent(s)….my heart went out to them. I signed up immediately and attended a very detailed orientation. Then I was matched with a wonderful case manager. The case manager picked me up from work at a agreed upon time, and took me to meet my mentee. The initial meeting went better than I expected. The grandmother was very nice and thankful. My mentee and I bonded immediately. We stayed at their home over an hour just chatting and getting acquainted with each other.
I began mentoring that next week by taking her to an Atlanta Hawks game. (She earned free tickets from her school for making the honor roll). I try to introduce her to “giving back”. We have done things like delivering meals on wheels to feeding the homeless for Mother’s day. The Meeting of the Hearts organization sponsors activities such as the family cookout held in May, in which her grandmother and other four siblings all attended with us.
Our communication is very good. We talk all the time either by telephone or text messaging. I try and see her at least once a week, even if we just go out to a fast food place in the middle of week.
We have developed a wonderful Mentor-Mentee bond over these months, and it is such a wonderful feeling of fulfillment. I pray I will continue to touch her life in a positive, loving and inspiring way, as she has touched mine.
Harlem Cares Testimonial
Hello, my name is Kalifa Waugh, I am 24 years old and I live in New York City. In December 2009, I decided that I wanted to dedicate my time and effort to become a mentor. Previously, I had mentored young girls in North Philadelphia during my undergraduate years and that experience proved to be rewarding not only for myself but my mentee, who I still remain in contact with and is currently enrolled in nursing school.
I was not sure what organization I wanted to be a part of and I stumbled upon Harlem CARES through an associate’s’ Facebook page. I started to read about Harlem CARES and how this non-profit assists with finding mentors in the community. I decided to attend a mentor recruitment workshop in January to gather more information and find out how I could get involved in this movement. At the information session, I was introduced to Ciara Ginyard who was one of the recruitment coordinators for the East Harlem Tutorial Program. She explained the mission and goals of the tutorial program and how their students were in need of willing, reliable and dedicated mentors.
After I completed my background check, fingerprinting and application, I was cleared to begin tutoring with 4th grade students in March of 2010. I began working with a young lady named Liz who was a very smart and charismatic little girl. I assisted her with her homework, enrichment exercises in Math and English and we played board games and had a good time. After every session, she would ask me if I would be back next Tuesday and I made sure that I did not disappoint her. She introduced me to her parents who expressed their gratitude for me taking the time to work their daughter. I really appreciate the fact that her parents, the staff and Liz acknowledge the work that I am doing but I am also happy that I am getting the chance to interact with a young girl who has the potential for a great future. Although my service only started a few months ago, I look forward to continuing my mentorship for years to come.