Written by People Places’ mentor, Irv Kempf
While growing up I was blessed with certain teachers, neighbors, coaches, and employers who found time to take a kindly interest in me as a unique individual. They encouraged, guided, and inspired me to believe in myself and accept more of my true potential. As I grew older these people were no longer part of my daily life, but their caring, kindness, patience, and wisdom stayed with me. Acting as a mentor myself has given me a way to thank those who helped me on my life’s journey. It honors them and helps others at the same time.
I am a sixty-five year old man and have been a mentor with People Places for three years. I have met many other fellow mentors in that time. We may come in a variety of shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds, but we share a common desire to help and serve others. We each have unique experiences and abilities that can be tapped to benefit another when a good mentor-child match is found. When our attributes are enhanced and refined by additional training and support from People Places, we become more and more effective as mentors.
The kids I have worked with experience a lot of change and uncertainty in their lives. Each child’s situation is unique but they are all in need of individual caring and attention. Mentoring is a great way to meet some of these needs, one outing and one child at a time.
Over time a mentor can become a constant positive presence in a child’s largely uncertain world. It is very gratifying to be that person for someone and a great way to thank those who helped you. It is awesome over time to see a child stand taller, speak with more confidence, and generally feel better about themselves. It is awesome to know that you played some part in that growth. There is also an unexpected bonus for the mentor. You may be surprised to see a better side of yourself that you like very much. Without specifically trying to do so, you as the giver also become the receiver, an intangible yet powerful gift.