If a child is to keep alive her inborn sense of wonder,
she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it,
rediscovering with her the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
– Rachel Carson
The Right Mentor Matters
Every child will have a mentor. Will it be the older kid on the corner recruiting for his gang? Will it be someone who is trying to use their relationship with a child to satisfy some deep need within themselves — to heal a past hurt, to rescue, to please their pastor or God? Or will it be a selfless, caring adult who has sensed a call to come alongside a child just as a friend and dream-sharer?
Suzanne falls into that last category. As a younger woman she had had a godly vision of somehow serving children in their neighborhoods. Often God will plant seeds of future purpose in our hearts and then just let them lie dormant until the appointed time. In Suzanne’s case, it was 15 years after that vision when she learned about Family Guidance’s LAMP program (Learning and Mentoring Partnership) at her church and signed up to be a mentor.
Don’t Give Up
After the required screenings and trainings, Suzanne’s LAMP supervisor took her to be matched with a little girl. But because of the child’s past hurts and aloofness, the match was never made…leaving Suzanne discouraged and sad.
Sharing a Dream
But soon her supervisor took her to meet another child and thus began what everyone agrees was “a match made in heaven.” Suzanne and 9-year old Sherita hit it off, finding many interests they had in common – art, dance, hiking, flying kites, reading, baking cookies, and especially music. Sherita confided numerous times to Suzanne that she wanted to be a singer when she grew up, and that she practiced her singing and song writing alone in the bathroom at home when it wasn’t in use by her Mom or three sisters.
Plan of Action
Suzanne began to talk with Sherita about applying to the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ creative and performing arts magnet school — CAPA. After helping Sherita to overcome some of her anxieties about getting to CAPA from her neighborhood along with some other “what ifs” and “hows,” Sherita and her Mom agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to apply. Suzanne helped with the application process, worked with Sherita on the song she had been assigned for auditions, took her to CAPA on audition day, and waited with her in the weeks that followed for some news.
About a month after the audition, Suzanne’s voice mail contained the long-awaited message. She laughed, cried and cheered all at the same time as she heard Sherita’s high-pitched, excited voice, “Miss Suzanne, I got accepted into CAPA! I got accepted into CAPA!!” Grateful, Suzanne prayed thanking God that with that one little phone message He had confirmed His vision to her of 15 years ago and made a bright little girl’s dreams come true.
Mentoring a child is not always easy, but it is simple. Listen for the dreams. Pray for opportunities. Share the joy.
Every child deserves to hope and dream of the possibilities. Become a mentor and help a child like Sherita to discover their strengths and achieve their God-given potential. Or make a gift in honor of our special mentors and mentees. Your support will make a difference in a child’s life.