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F3 Mentor Program: We Need Your Help

I want to share my mentoring story. It’s not necessarily a unique one as mentors everywhere make a difference in kids’ lives everyday. Mine is likely quite common. And that’s the point. You too can make a difference in the most common kind of way.

I was assigned a 5th grade student at an elementary school within my local school district. We’ll call the student “Nick” for anonymity. The guidance counselor shared with me his background. Nick was like most “at-risk” kids. He came from a broken home: no Dad while Mom is in and out of legal trouble. Nick was not a “bad” kid. He didn’t get in trouble at school. In fact, the entire school loved him. We would walk down the hall and I felt like I was with a rock star.

I had never been an official mentor before. The first time I met Nick, I was nervous, didn’t know what to expect. Nick’s bright smile and big personality quickly calmed my nerves. We talked for a bit and played some board games in the guidance room. After 30 minutes as we were saying our good-byes, he asked if I was coming back next week. I assured him I would. His asking me if I was coming back struck me. Nick doesn’t have anyone in his life he can count on.

We met for several more weeks, mostly on Wednesdays at 11am. We played basketball. I helped him study for a social studies test. We talked.

It was the end of the school year and Nick’s 5th grade graduation was coming up. He asked me to come. I asked if his Mom or anyone else in his family was coming. He didn’t know. There was no way I was missing his graduation. I was going to make sure he knew there was somebody he could count on…probably for the first time in his life.

Graduation day came. I showed up and stood in the corner. Nick marched in with the rest of the 5th grade graduates. I really wanted him to see me there. Not for me, I just needed him to know that he could count on somebody. As graduation ended, his class exited really close to where I was standing. Nick saw me and he beamed. Later that day, his teacher told me that he was in tears after he saw me. Likely for the first time in his life, he could count on someone.

Here’s a note he wrote me: “Thank you for always being there for me. And I love playing basketball with you. It makes me happy. And last of all I like that you always ask me about my weekend and most of all I can trust you and there is not a lot of people I can trust so thank you.”

Nick is moving on to middle school and I will follow him there. Experts say the biggest impact is when you show back up the next year. I am not going to let Nick down.

I share this mentoring story as testimony that you can make a difference in a kid’s life in a very short period of time. It took fewer than 9 weeks (30 minutes per week) to impact Nick. To be clear, this has nothing to do with me. It could’ve been anyone that showed up consistently and cared. We have close to 50 pax that mentored last school year that can share similar stories.

How can you get involved? Reach out to me and I’ll make sure you get assigned a school. My contact info: [email protected] / 803-917-0368 / @F3KenDoll on Twitter

How does the F3 Mentor Program work? Each school has their own mentor program run by guidance or administration. We simply provide willing and able men. We do assign each school a QIC to coordinate with school administration and communicate with the pax.

What’s my obligation? 30 minutes per week. Schools will assign you a student that matches with your schedule.

How do I mentor? Read, talk, eat breakfast, play games. Here’s the main thing: Just be there consistently.

What schools are we working with? The list is growing rapidly.

Here’s where we currently have mentors assigned: Lake Murray Elem (Lexington), Rocky Creek Elem, Lexington Middle, Oak Grove Elementary, Carolina Springs Elem, FOCUS

In current talks with: Chapin Elem, Lexington Elem, Pleasant Hill Elem, New Providence Elem, Midway Elem, Carolina Springs Middle, Northside Middle, Meadow Glen Elem

Note: If you know of a school in need (they all have needs), please don’t hesitate to share with me. We want to help everywhere we can.

We need HIGH IMPACT MEN. It only takes 30 minutes per week to make a difference.

– KD