Being the planners that we are, back in January when we were scheduling blog posts, the one for April 24 was going to be a slam dunk, easy one – 2020 Mentor Appreciation Breakfast Recap. We were going to share our emotionally charged stories, videos and messages shared at the event that was set for the previous day.
As we all know, plans changed.
What we have been blown away by though, far more than what we could get from any event, is the kindness, care and concern LSS mentors have for their people. Almost daily, we get stories or requests of help from Sioux Falls families connected by LSS.
Here is just a sampling of how mentors have shown up, big and small, without physically being there:
- A mentor refurbished an old computer for their student and family to use. Because of this generosity, this student is able to engage with teachers and classmates during this season of e-learning.
- When their student has reached a goal (that mentor and student set together), one mentor brings in a treat. This student was able to achieve a goal recently, and asked for pizza. The mentor anticipated some jealous feelings by this students six siblings, and decided to treat the whole family!
- A mentor was talking to their student and a major worry about losing their home was shared. The mentor followed up with LSS and we were able to point the parent to resources to hopefully mitigate the threat.
- One mentor knew that their students parents both lost jobs weeks ago. They were able to drop off the students favoirte meal, a package of toilet paper and a HyVee gift card. The mentor said it was just a minor thing that they were able to do. But like many, the thought and consideration far outwiegh the monetary value.
When LSS put out an option for connecting via parent email (or e-mentoring) to mentors who meet at school, there was an overwhelming response! So many mentors are not only maintaining their relationship, they are deepening their connection. There has been interest in meeting outside of school by parents, students and mentors — knowing we just can’t count on being able to be reunited in the fall. Thanks to LSS implementing Climb and USucceed, we are able to fulfill those requests.
We have also heard from those mentors who are not able to get in touch with their student. They are worryied about them, but are also keeping them very close in their thoughts and prayers. We believe that is just as important now than ever.
Last Friday, President Obama shared on Instagram, “It doesn’t take a pandemic to see how vital mentorship programs are to our communities — they ensure young people, especially those group up in underserved neighborhoods, don’t get left behind.” LSS Mentors have proven their vitality time and time again. And we are so appreciative.
If you are interesting in supporting mentors and the students and families they serve, please consider a donation. If you are not able to give financially but are inspired by these stories and want to help, please consider applying to be a mentor. When we do make it out of this, the need for kids to have the extra support and encouragement a mentor can provide will be strong. And as soon as it’s safe to do so, you will be able to lift a child and families spirits just by showing up.
Post by Michelle Madsen
Director, LSS Mentoring Services