This is my second year of being a mentor with Kids Hope. The first thing that comes to mind is how easy it has been – one hour, one child, one session per week is such a doable commitment. Also I love that it is not 100% tutoring or 100% relating to each other. It’s about academics, relationship and fun and there is never any down time in that one hour. (If I can’t understand their homework then we move on to something else!) Even though I know there are subs available, I find myself never wanting to miss a Kids Hope session because I become attached to my child and I want this one thing to be stable in his life.
This year, knowing my student is living in a shelter, I think about him throughout the week and how difficult it must be for him to get his homework done and get to school on time under less than perfect conditions. It has made me realize that he has so much more to overcome than some of his classmates. So although I always had compassion, this shows me up close and personal just how much these kids are struggling to overcome their odds.
The other thing that strikes me about Kids Hope is how much the ERE kids love it. Other kids not in the program poke their nose in to the classroom a little in awe of what goes on in there. There is a waiting list and the kids who are in the program are so happy to come on their assigned day. There is absolutely no stigma to the program, but quite the opposite. The classroom is such a happy place, Sarah keeps it so well organized and she is the heart of the program. She has heart and a calling for these kids and I am so blessed to be able to work under her. She makes everyone feel valuable and she taught me that you don’t need to be an extrovert to have an impact. You just need a heart of compassion. Come to think of it, that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned -- valuable impacts can be made by people with a range of personalities and in small, incremental ways. -Sue