Charlie Toomajian wants to make a difference in the lives of Sioux Falls kids. He has volunteered for committees and boards, and at one of those meetings, was introduced to LSS Mentoring. He applied and was matched with Oliver, an energetic first grader at Garfield Elementary. The two got along famously their first year and into their second year. Then in March 2020, school stopped and like all matches, they were not able to continue to see each other.
Garfield is one of three schools that have been able to do virtual mentoring. This February, Charlie and Oliver were able to reconnect, and what a sweet reunion it was! Oliver, still energetic as a third grader, was delighted to finally see his mentor.
“It’s fun and I get to talk to someone,” said Oliver.
“I enjoy talking and about things with Oliver and catching up,” said Charlie. “I also like playing board games.” The two have tried lots of different games, some new and some old favorites. Oliver quickly pointed out, “Charlie likes to lose to me at games!” Charlie says that Oliver likes to keep track and has only lost four times!
Oliver says that he has learned a few things from Charlie, like about medieval culture. Charlie grew up in New York and acknowledges that school is very different now than when he was in the third grade. He thinks mentoring is very important though. “I hope this is good for Oliver and I know it is good for me,” said Charlie. “It helps for me to remember what it’s like to be young.”
Oliver said they share some interests, “we both like games and we both don’t like Covid.” Oliver did say something he will remember about mentoring is being able to meet online. Like many kids, he is quite skilled on his chrome book and clicks in and out of screens. He has taught Charlie a few things too! Charlie said he also has learned “to be careful about what I say because he picks up on everything!” Oliver is also very open and talkative. Charlie embraces that quality and appreciates that he does not have a filter. “Too many adults are too careful about what they say,” said Charlie. “Kids are not, and I think that is important.”
There is never a dull moment in their weekly meetings and their now weekly virtual meetings are no different. Most of all, they enjoy being together. When Oliver was asked how he would describe Charlie, he said, “a friend.”
If you would like to become a mentor, please apply today.
Post by Michelle Madsen