2018-2019 Annual AppealDecember 20, 2018 Advocacy, Annual Appeal, MENTOR Vermont
Having a caring, consistent adult mentor can play a crucial role in helping a young person succeed. Currently, one in three youth in Vermont enter adulthood without having a structured or informal adult mentor in their lives.
Joanne, who mentors through Connecting Youth in the Champlain Valley School District, was matched with her mentee, Devyn, seven years ago when Devyn was a fifth grader. “The very first time we met, Devyn gave me a hug and said, ‘do you want to play a game?’”
Over the next four years, Joanne and Devyn played their way through every boardgame they could find. “We’re both pretty competitive,” said Joanne. “At the end of the first year, Devyn wrote me a thank you note that said ‘thanks for never letting me win’ because every time she beat me, she knew it was legit!”
When Devyn graduated from middle school in 2016, she was excited for high school but also felt nostalgic for everything she was leaving behind. Fortunately for her, not everything would have to change. “I’m going to high school,” Devyn told Joanne. “And I’m taking you with me!”
With support and funding from MENTOR Vermont (formerly Mobius), Connecting Youth has expanded its programming to allow for mentor matches to continue into the high school and be able to meet outside of the school day. Because of this, Devyn and Joanne have been able to continue and expand their friendship. “High school is inevitably harder than middle school,” says Devyn. “If I’m having a bad day at school, Joanne is the best person to talk to. She gives the best advice!”
Devyn is now in her junior year, and will face another transition when she graduates from high school, but neither expect their relationship to end then either. “I won the lottery when I got Devyn as my mentee,” says Joanne. “I told her ‘We’re going to be friends the rest of our lives!’ and Devyn said to me, ‘You’re going to come to my wedding!’”
MENTOR Vermont believes that, like Devyn, every young person should have the supportive mentoring relationships they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive, and engaged adults. When a youth is matched with a mentor, they feel more connected to their community, and are more likely to continue their education after high school.
MENTOR Vermont works to ensure that mentoring programs like Connecting Youth have the resources and support necessary to foster these life-changing relationships and best meet the needs of the youth in their community. We support more than 140 mentoring programs and 2,300 mentor matches throughout the state. We cannot do this important work without your help. Please consider making a donation to support MENTOR Vermont and the youth in your community, because every young person should have a mentor like Joanne in their life.