Jessica's life was changed forever one Christmas break her third grade year. A car accident killed three people, including her baby sister, and injured her mom beyond recovery.
When school started back in January, Jessica went back to class – but she became quiet and withdrawn, and schoolwork was no longer a priority.
Jessica was matched with a mentor who came once a week for the entire semester. They mostly played board games in the beginning while the trust-building process developed, and eventually Jessica began to talk, and sometimes even to smile.
When fourth grade began, Jessica’s mentor came back. Within a few weeks of the start of school they were once again meeting every week.
Jessica’s mentor stayed with her during her fourth and fifth grade years. They read books, worked on craft projects, studied for tests, completed homework assignments, shared family pictures, told stories, and developed a true bond. And when she moved on to middle school, her mentor moved with her.
Home life for Jessica was difficult. Her mom needed constant care and her dad was often gone, so the care and parenting of Jessica and her sister was left to older siblings. No one cooked breakfast, no one was waiting at home with a snack after school, no one cared if homework was completed, and no one cared about bedtime.
Jessica’s mentor helped her focus on the things that were being neglected. By this time they had become quite a team, and both looked forward to their weekly time together.
The summer between her seventh and eighth grade years, Jessica’s mom passed away. She shared her experience with her mentor and they were able to talk about the happy memories of her mom, as well as the sadness and loss she had just experienced.
As she was about to start high school, Jessica was asked to apply for a college readiness course. The application process was an arduous one but Jessica turned to her mentor for help. Together they completed the 13-page application, and after a personal interview, Jessica was selected.
She is now in ninth grade and the mentor-mentee relationship has developed into one of lasting friendship and trust. They celebrate the happy times, work through the struggles, and look at grades and school assignments on a regular basis.
The reason I share this story is that Jessica is mine. I am her mentor and we are in our seventh year together.
Note: Lori Fickling has been an inspirational leader of her community for over 20 years.
She was recently asked to give an impromptu speech for a neighboring Rotary Club when the scheduled speaker for the day suddenly fell ill. She only had a couple hours to prepare, so she decided to present her true passion: Mentoring at-risk students from our schools. Her objective was to describe how a mentor can change the lives of young students that would almost surely drop out of school, and encourage Rotarians to either allocate funds toward Communities in Schools, or to consider becoming a mentor themselves.
She spoke from the heart and within fifteen minutes, the entire audience of some 60 members was literally moved to tears.
Her story was taken from the notes of that speech and was originally about 1200 words. I pared it down to 500, but much of the impact was reduced. This is her true story of what being a mentor means to Lori.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories
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