Kevin Mendoza, from Greensboro, NC, made the leap from humble beginnings and modest career goals to being accepted by 16 colleges.
Jenny Valline is a nurse at the county jail and the mother of two children in Ames, Iowa. She recently paid off her student loans and reined in her spending on what she simply ‘wants’ to buy to what she truly needs.
What do Kevin and Jenny have in common? They both had mentors - caring, committed volunteers who helped them see new possibilities, set goals, and cheered them on. Both mentors’ lives improved, along with their mentees’.
Starting in the 6th grade, Kevin’s mentor, Rashad, gave him the same caring relationship with an adult that Rashad credits with his own rise from poverty. Rashad made sure Kevin stayed on the right path and exposed him to places, people, and ideas he would not have known about otherwise. Rashad said, “for me it was the ultimate joy” to see Kevin succeed.
Jenny, like her mentor Statia, participated in the local Women United budgeting and money management program. When they were paired up through the program, Jenny always came with a list of things she needed to budget for and said that Statia “was always there to support me, and if I messed up, she didn’t judge me, she was just very supportive.” Statia was able to tell Jenny about her own struggles to manage money well and “not have your money control you.”
Each January, we consider our hopes and dreams for the new year. It is also National Mentoring Month, which since 2002 has focused national attention on how each of us - individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits - can work together to increase the number of mentors to help ensure positive outcomes for children, young adults, or anyone needing a hand and someone who believes in them.
Even in a pandemic, you can provide vital support as a mentor.
United Way of Greater Greensboro and United Way of Story County backed the mentorship initiatives that led to Kevin and Rashad’s and Jenny and Statia’s successes. Will 2021 be the year when you join the mentoring movement and foster connections that will improve your life and another’s? Contact your local United Way to learn how.