Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Mentor of the Month

David Sheehan

David discovered the Mentor Program in 2006 and realized that this was a perfect way for him to give back to the community and to a child in need. Although he had heard of the program several times before, he finally felt ready to make the time out of his extremely busy schedule. With years of experience coaching youth sports and raising his own teenage son, David knew that he had so much knowledge to share and was eager to start working with any child who needed help and guidance.

David was matched with a sweet and sensitive 6th grade boy struggling with a volatile home life, low self-esteem, poor social skills, and a bad attitude about school. David realized that what his new mentee really needed was just some stability and a friend that he could talk to about anything. For the first year they met every Friday at school and spent half the time going over schoolwork and the other half sharing a fun activity. His mentee showed a natural talent for art, so they would often draw together and share stories from their own lives. Over the year their friendship grew; every hour they spent together seemed to fly by and they always looked forward to the next week. Therefore, they decided to start spending more time outside of school. They tried different sports, visited museums, rode bikes along the beach, and visited places like the zoo where his mentee could relax and just be a kid.
Mentee's winning submission for the 2008 art contest

Now, though David works out of town during the week and is only home on the weekends, he always makes sure to see his mentee. David’s commitment to his mentee has made a clear difference. Within the first year his mentee’s self-esteem shot up and he told their case manager that David “makes me happy”. His social skills also improved and David commented on the how much more conscientious he was when communicating with him and other people. Furthermore, his mentee’s attitude about school changed dramatically because he finally had someone in his life who was a stable, positive influence who pushed him to succeed. Over the years their bond has strengthened and David’s mentee has continued to grow and mature with his constant support and guidance. Now that he is in high school and they have been matched for over four years they both consider their relationship very special and know that it has changed them both for the better.

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