Letter from a Mentor

March 21, 2014 Mobius

Dear Neighbor,

I became a mentor after breaking through my reluctance to make a commitment to a young person that I did not know I would be able to keep. I was retired from paid work but still had a fairly busy schedule. So I decided to try the Everybody Wins! program which enabled me to meet with a third grade boy once a week for about an hour; we read together in the school library as he ate his lunch; we talked about his week, his interests and I got to see part of the world through the eyes of an eight-year-old. When the school year ended, I was asked if I wanted to “graduate” with my mentee to a full, community mentorship. By that time I was hooked and Dylan and I continue to meet after school once a week to hike, build a bird house, go to the recycling center, feed the goats, play checkers and dominoes (I even win sometimes), learn about insects and snakes and whatever it is that we think of together. It has been so rewarding an experience, I almost feel I should be paying for it.

Joseph and Dylan This is hands-on peace work. I, alone, cannot end wars and violence, I cannot stop the violence of poverty and economic injustice; that takes organized people working together for lifetimes and we all, in our way, already do that. Mentoring a young person is peace work, something we can do and see the benefits; Dylan’s and my conversations have taken us into places that he and I may not have opportunities to explore elsewhere. I marvel with gratitude at the trust and affection that has grown between us. He continues to surprise and delight me with his insights, and sweet disposition which is sometimes hidden in a nine-year-old rambunctious boy. In some ways our relationship is the best peace work I have ever done, and it is so much fun.

So, like me, you may be reluctant to make a commitment to a young person while unsure how you can fit it into your very busy life. I found that not only do I fit it in, it takes precedence over most everything else I do. Please think about being a mentor, we especially need men but there are plenty of girls who would love to have a special friend.

If you want to talk with me about it, I would love to do that.

Peace and Hope,

Joseph Gainza



Joseph and Dylan Joseph and Dylan are with the Twinfield Together Mentoring Program. This letter is courtesy of Pam Quinn, Director of the Twinfield Together Mentoring Program and School Coordinator of the Everybody Wins! Vermont program in Twinfield. If you’d like more information about the Twinfield Together Mentoring Program, or if you’d like to contact Joseph, please e-mail Pam at [email protected].