“One of the best feelings in the world is knowing your presence means something to someone.”
Every match in the LSS mentor program is just a unique as the individuals who make up the 1,200 pairs that meet each week. Terra Zahn and her 3rd grade student Katarina have an incredible bond that you can just see. In fact, one Oscar Howe teacher said she wished she could join their meetings because they always have so much fun!
Terra, who works at vvi, was inspired to volunteer to mentor after encouragement from her former boss and personal mentor. He said it would be something she would be great at and told her to check it out. She was hooked after meeting Katarina in 2014.
When they first met, Katarina was not sure what a mentor was. “I thought I was in trouble when the counselor told me I was getting a mentor. Then they said I was not and it would be fun,” said Katarina. She now knows exactly what a mentor is and says, “A mentor is someone you can spend time with. You can count on them. They care about you.”
She said she was shy at first, but quickly felt at ease with Terra. Katarina’s teachers and counselors saw just how much she adored her mentor and came up with an incentive plan that Terra was a big part of. If Katarina returns things to school — homework, signatures on papers, books, etc — she gets to have a five minute phone call on Friday afternoon with Terra. She really wants to earn that phone call so she can discuss what they will do during their upcoming meeting. Terra was honored to be asked to help her in this extra way, but what she really loves is just seeing her each week. “The best part of mentoring is walking out and seeing her smile and know she is excited. That makes me excited too.”
Terra has loved every minute of her time with Katarina. “This is the most rewarding thing you can do with one hour each week,” said Terra. “I got into this thinking I would be there for someone else, but I have gotten so much back by mentoring Kat.” She also enjoys the little break in her week to just have some fun. “I don’t have to think about work or home – just get to hang out and play and talk.”
Lastly, Katarina wants to encourage anyone who is not a mentor to start. She says, “Adults should really mentor a kid. Once you get used to it, you’ll really like them because kids can have some really good ideas.”
If you would like to volunteer to mentor, please apply.