Starting her career at Partners for Youth with Disabilities as a mentoring specialist, Emma, 24, quickly became part of the PYD community. Shortly after becoming a specialist, Emma expanded her horizons and joined the mentor program at PYD.
Emma began her role as a mentoring specialist last April at the PYD office. As a specialist, she helps form matches between mentors and mentees between the ages of 11 and 17 years old. Finding these matches requires Emma to carefully review mentor and mentee profiles, preferences, likes, and dislikes. Additionally, she has to check in on her current matches as well as find new volunteers to join the program. Being a mentoring specialist, Emma said she never “fully understood” the role of being a mentor. However, when Emma found her perfect match, she decided to make the four to six-hour per month time commitment of being a mentor.
Currently Emma has one mentee, Lily, who she matched with one year ago on Halloween. The two see each other once every three weeks, usually on Fridays. Once they got into the groove of their friendship, Emma and Lily learned they like to spend time together more often than every three weeks if their schedules allow for it. In between hangouts, Emma and Lily send each other memes and have fun conversations over text. Emma also makes sure to check in with Lily once a week to see how she’s doing with school and friendships, and how she’s feeling emotionally. She mentioned that she has become close to Lily’s family, and has learned what she and Lily like doing best, which is visiting the mall and going to the movies.
“Whenever there’s a movie I want to go see, I text Lily to come with me,” Emma said.
Becoming a mentor is an educational experience for everyone involved. Emma says that through the past year of working with Lily, she learned that “young people are so much stronger than we give them credit for.” Emma encourages anyone who considers becoming a mentor to put their best foot forward and go for it.
“If you’re not sure if you can be a mentor, you definitely can. If you have no experience, we give you the basics and it’s really just a structured friendship,” said Emma.
If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer mentor with us at PYD, you can learn more about our program here.
This blog post was written by Erika Grossi of the BU PRLab.