Meghan and Mani
Meghan and Mani have been paired together for three years through The DREAM Program.
Meg loves telling the story of how she and her mentee, Mani, matched. She laughs as she begins, “It was my first time at DREAM, we were doing a scavenger hunt at UVM. I saw one of the mentees push another mentee into the fountain; then he smiled, pointed at me, and said, ‘You’re my mentor!’” (Mani was 5 at the time). This story is a perfect description of their relationship. Mani is always testing boundaries and Meg is always there to guide him.
Meg and Mani joined DREAM around the same time; Meg is Mani’s first ever mentor. Their relationship hasn’t always been easy. The first year they were getting to know each other was challenging. Mani continued to push and test boundaries but Meg never wavered. She went above and beyond to advocate for him and planned activities she knew he would be successful in. Including reaching out to community resources to try and enroll him in Aikido classes and planning smaller group activities where he could be more active. Their relationship has grown and strengthened over the past years. Mani doesn’t like to show it, but if Meg is ever absent he always asks where she is and when he can see her next. Some of their favorite outings are sharing meals at McDonald’s (Mani loves cheeseburgers), going swimming in the lake, and just being active outside.
Mani comes from a large family, a family that Meg is now a part of. She is close with all of his siblings and has built a strong relationship with their mother. She attends Mani’s older siblings’ soccer and basketball games and when visiting Mani at home, she will often end up spending the whole night sitting in his living room hanging out with him and his siblings. When Mani’s younger sister was born over the summer Meg was one of the first people to meet her when she came home.
Meg is extremely passionate about DREAM. She was a student leader for the chapter of her program for one year and also served as an AmeriCorps member with DREAM organizing programming over the summer. Through her involvement Meg has built close relationships with several of the mentees in the program, she truly embodies DREAM’s village mentoring model. She is the first person many of them go to with problems at school or when they have exciting news to share. Currently, Meg is taking the lead on planning an adventure trip to San Francisco with nine of our teen mentees. She has also been a driving force in planning other teen specific programming such as teen talks and college tours and information sessions.
Meg’s love of DREAM and the kids is evident, her eyes light up any time she talks about it. She is constantly thinking of ways to improve our programming so all of the kids feel included and continue to stay engaged with DREAM. It is this passion and drive that makes Meg such an amazing mentor!
-Kelsea Moulton, program empowerment director/AmeriCorps VISTA at The DREAM Program