Why We Exist
When Joel was just a young kid, his older brother was killed after being violently gunned down near their family home. Afterwards, Joel and the rest of his family were living in fear for their own lives. Joel was afraid to leave the house, even to go to school, and would find any excuse to stay home. When Joel did go to school, he isolated himself and was reluctant to interact with his peers or participate in any classroom activities.
One of Joel’s teachers referred him to our School-Based Mentoring program and Joel was soon matched with Will, a positive, caring, and confident mentor. You could see positive changes in Joel almost right from the beginning of the match. His attendance record at school was still spotty, but if you looked closely, you’d see that he never skipped a day when he had planned visits with his mentor. Gradually, as Will helped Joel to overcome his fears and grow his confidence, his attendance at school improved and he would rarely miss any days. His teacher often commented on how, since being matched with Will, Joel was more outgoing, speaking to his classmates and teachers and doing better at school.
One day, Joel had to get some dental work done and the dentist said he should plan to take the day off from school to recover. However, this was a mentoring day and Joel was adamant that he did not want to miss his scheduled time with Will. He made his mother take him to school and wait until his visit with Will was over, and then she took him home.
At the end of the school year, Joel was asked what he felt he learned from Will, to which he replied, “He taught me that no matter how hard things get, never give up.”