Yesterday was my (as my five-year-old son says) “most favorite” day of mentoring. After the long summer break, I was able to reconnect with my student. It is just like getting to see an old friend. There was so much to talk about, catch up on and celebrate.
As I walked into the school, I was a little nervous about how things would go. She is now in fourth grade – how did that happen? But when we first saw each other, she had the biggest grin. One that revealed braces on her teeth – again, how did that happen? And when she stood up, I swore she had grown a foot taller since last spring.
We talked about the summer, I showed her pictures of my family, she showed me her new classroom. Before I knew it, there were dozens of her classmates returning from recess and it was time to go. The time just flew by!
This school year, there will be 1,018 caring adults returning to mentor Sioux Falls area students.
They are committing to spend one hour per week meeting with an elementary, middle or high school student. Many with the same student they met with last year and a few who will get the opportunity to mentor a new student. At LSS, our year over year retention rate is around 80%. Considering volunteer retention rates hover around 65% nationally, we are thrilled that mentors keep coming back. In our program, there are 60 very dedicated volunteers that have been mentoring for 10+ years.
With this being my fourth year mentoring, it is now just part of my week and something I make time to do. For me and many others, mentoring has turned from a “nice thing to do” to a “need to do.”
We sincerely appreciate the 1,018 volunteers who are continuing this year and hope that they find the joy in being reunited with mentoring. I know I was and I am already excited to go back next week.