Mentoring Matters: A Cortland Mentor’s Story

The following is a republished press release from Cortland Area Communities That Care and not an article written by The Cortland Voice … to submit a community announcement, email Peter Blanchard at [email protected].

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – Ever wanted to give back to your community and love kids? Mentoring with Bridges for Kids program has become my favorite way to do this.

It began when I was looking for work and had extra time. Now, my husband and I are running a small business and have very little time but mentoring is something I will continue to do. It’s been quite wonderful journey these last few years with one very sweet little girl who I’ve watched become quite a young lady before my eyes. I wouldn’t trade a moment with her for the world.

When we met, she was a brokenhearted, confused child who was really having trouble finding her place in her world. School was a real challenge and concentrating for very long at all was really tough. Knowing the time I spend with her is incredibly important to her is very motivating and it really hasn’t taken much time or effort on my part.

Now nearly 3 years later, she is successful in school and feels that success. She even won first place in her Science Fair this last year! What a difference! She is maturing in to quite a young lady, someone who is proud of what she is accomplishing. She does her homework and does it well. Something we have in common is that we both love to create things with our hands. This week we will finish our second pottery class at Cinch together. We cook together, sometimes using the kitchen at the YWCA and sometimes the kitchen at my home. Our strawberry shortcake was out of this world! Cookies for the YWCA cookie walk were really fun. We sew together and made a couple of things. Sometimes she helps me at the little store at the campground we run. We love to go to the science center or other events together, sometimes, school events. At times, we just go out for ice cream or play a game. One time we made a duct tape wallet! One day, we stopped to see my disabled friend at a nursing home. She can’t wait to ride my son’s Belgian horses again. They only have slow speed and are big teddy bears. She’s learned to spin on my spinning wheel, not a talent many have any more. And I get to be a kid again with someone who appreciates every moment!

Something I did not expect was that this would become a shared experience for my family. My husband has seen the difference a little time and effort has made and is a tremendous support for making sure our time together happens. I’m so glad I finally said yes to mentoring and plan to continue. She said she wants to sew again. Hmmm… Shall I give her choices from my stash or take her shopping? Hmmm… I can’t wait to see what we create together!

There are over 80 children on a waiting list in the Cortland area alone who are hoping that they will find mentors this year.

Are you interested in mentoring a child in our community? Get more information on how you can become a mentor here.

Jean Sutton has been a community mentor in the YWCA Bridges for Kids mentoring program for 2 years.

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