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Mentoring This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Since the beginning of my freshman year, I have gone to a local elementary school every Wednesday afternoon. I work with a group of children who need academic help and emotional support. At first, I thought the Big Brother/Big Sister Mentor Program was primarily for high school students who were thinking of becoming educators, guidance counselors, social workers, etc. But now I realize this program is for any students who wish to make a difference in a child's life.

I remember the first time I came to mentor. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was willing to try anything. I arrived at the school feeling slightly apprehensive, but open-minded. As soon as I stepped into the second-grade classroom, I was welcomed by many voices. These frolicsome voices belonged to ten wonderful children. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each child, their hobbies, likes and dislikes, favorite foods, etc. They make me look forward to Wednesday afternoons. Usually when the children need help in a particular area (like computers or reading), we'll all work on improvement. We play educational games like Around the World, or sometimes, if they want to sit down and talk, we'll do that.

When I can see the children benefiting from this extra attention, a surge of happiness flows through my entire body. Knowing one can make a difference is probably one of the best feelings. I remember feeling as if I was walking on water and could do anything. Just seeing the optimistic smiles appearing on their faces when they finally understand a challenging math problem or win a game of Bingo is so rewarding.

I am surprised that at the end of each Wednesday, I go home feeling as if I take more than I contribute. I highly recommend any type of community service to anyone who is willing. It is fulfilling and leaves me feeling better as a person. These children provide me with a sense of belonging and self-worth. Community service has had a strong impact on my life. I hope to continue mentoring not just throughout high school, but for the rest of my life. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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