I decided to become a mentor to be able to help a child build self-esteem and confidence and, from an educational perspective, assist with school assignments.

Throughout my own education in grammar school, high school and college, there was always at least one teacher who challenged me to achieve greater things than I thought possible and who made me think about my future, set goals and establish plans to achieve my goals. Even after more than 50 years, I still vividly remember each of these individuals and the things I learned from them.

This type of support served me well during my 40-year business career, and I thought that if I could mentor a child in the same way that I had been mentored, this might help them develop into educated, productive members of society.

I am a firm believer in doing whatever you can for children, beginning at a young age, to help them grow to be independent and enable them to eventually support themselves financially.

Obviously I had some lofty ideas about what I might be able to do for a child. What wasn’t anticipated is how much enjoyment I would get from a mentoring relationship. I have been mentoring a little girl for three years now, and she is an absolute joy in my life. I think of her as a younger friend of mine. Each week I look forward to spending time with her at the mentoring center. We also take advantage of other outings made available for mentors and mentees throughout the year.

All in all, mentoring has been an amazingly rewarding experience and one I would highly recommend for anyone with a little time (only one hour a week) to devote to a child. It takes so little time and can make such a difference in the life of a child and in your life. Who knows what the results might be and how you will be remembered?

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The Stand By Me Mentoring Program matches caring adults with children who need and want a mentor in their lives. The program maintains professionally staffed mentor centers on all eight public school campuses in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, ranging from elementary through high school. Mentors volunteer a minimum of one hour a week during the school day. Outside of school, structured activities are offered year-round to help grow the relationship and further enhance the child’s experience. These activities include culinary and art classes, concerts, sporting events, community service projects, trips to businesses and college campuses and more. Currently, there are 140 children on a wait list hoping to be matched.

To learn more about becoming a mentor in the Stand By Me Mentoring Program, go to sonomamentoring.org or call 996-6843.