Motivated by a great mentor she had during her college years, Marley Prunty-Benson knew she wanted to pay that back by being a mentor. Five years ago, Marley eagerly signed up and was matched with Yar, a then first grader at Longfellow Elementary.
“Meeting Yar was one of the best things that has happened to me,” said Marley. “And I did not even know it was going to happen!”
Marley remembers the school counselor telling her that Yar was a quiet little girl. The two hit it off right away and Marley very quickly discovered Yar was not shy. In fact, she had to remind her to take a break from talking to eat her lunch.
At the end of each school year, Marley would ask Yar if she wanted her to come back. Many years, they were crying on the playground when it came time to say goodbye for the summer. They are both committed to the program and to each other. A permanent bond has been formed. They are now at the point that they don’t even ask, it is unspoken that they will remain friends for years to come.
Yar has a lot to say about the need for more mentors. She has siblings and friends who are waiting for a mentor of their own. To people not mentoring, Yar says, “You should be a mentor because you can make other peoples days, have fun and learn something. Everyone should do something new or learn something new every week.”
Together, Marley and Yar have played games, colored, read books, used their imaginations to create new games and dreamed about the future.
“We talk a lot about going to college,” said Marley. “We talk about what you have to do to get there and how to make sure it is affordable.”
While it is not quite time for college yet, Yar and Marley will face a transition into middle school this September. Yar is admittedly a little nervous about it, but says she is lucky to have Marley visit her each week.