My wife was a mentor in Kids Hope but I stayed far away from that idea. I had no clue how to interact with kids and the idea of working with a child one on one scared me. I was a film editor and I preferred to hide in a small dark office all day.
My wife went through some challenging sessions at first and I had an "I told you so" look on my face as she came home each week. But over time she bonded with her child and she often came home beaming about how they connected over something that day. By the end of the year I couldn't believe the progress her child had made.
I couldn't sit on the sideline anymore so I signed up to be a mentor too. However, I begged Sarah, the Kids Hope director, to "give me an easy child, please!" The child I was matched up with challenged me, but he could melt my heart with his smile. After every session I ran over to the director and said, "Help! He is doing this and that. What do I do?" And she would calm me down and give me advice that left me feeling empowered.
A few years have gone by and my life looks dramatically different. I'm now a stay-at-home dad, and I work part-time as a Floortime Specialist for children with autism! So much for my plea to "work with an easy child." It took a few years, but I don't wish that anymore. I've learned one of the greatest gifts in life is to be known just as we are and to know others just as they are. And that is what I experienced in Kids Hope as a mentor. I will always be grateful for the way Kids Hope has impacted my life. -Lucas