We're so thankful for all of the mentors and volunteers that are involved in our programs. This month, we sat down with two of our mentors to talk to them about being a Girls Inc. mentor at our Bold Futures program. Bold Futures empowers all girls to become healthy, educated, and independent.
What attracted you to Girls Inc.?
I worked as a supervisor at an overnight camp for girls for 10 years and I loved building connections with the teenage girls -- many of whom I still stay connected. When I moved into the city, I was looking for a similar opportunity and was connected to Girls Inc. through my husband who is a Partner at Deloitte. When I investigated the organization I knew it would be a perfect fit. I met with Dena and Natasha and was sold immediately.
I had been looking to be involved in a volunteer capacity with girls-focused programming for some time, and to be honest the logo & branding just hit me. In all sincerity, my mother enrolled me in everything when I was a child. As my friends' and associates' networks developed I had met women who have had the same experience but many who had not. There is a positively overwhelming feeling attached to how active and engaged I was as a child and how those activities helped construct my definition of self. Contrarily we live in a world now that attempts to define who girls are with less than powerful attributes; it’s always “pretty” and “cute”, but we have the choice to write the narrative ourselves! Put it this way, I just couldn’t imagine a world where my younger self is not prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to navigate it and the stressors ahead. Even grown women face challenges to our well-being that we don’t readily voice. I want the girls I encounter at Girls Inc. to know there is someone out there just like them, but waiting for them to be stronger, smarter, and bolder.
What do you think are the qualities of a good mentor?
I think a good mentor takes the time to listen to and understand their mentees, willing to provide support, has patience, and needs a sense of humor!
There is a particular jazz to being the middle-woman of parent and friend. No, we aren’t our girls’ parents, but have you heard of the phrase “a happy mother is the best mother”? Well it’s just that simple; A happy mentor is the best mentor! Even when you’re dog tired after leaving the office (or class for the other mentors out there). Coming through the door with positivity and ready to weed through whatever changes children & youth experience day to day. Having the right attitude that matches the intended outcome and being present when in the presence of others.
What was one of your best or funniest mentor moments at Bold Futures?
Some of my favorite moments at Bold Futures are when I walk in and the girls are excited to see me or the first time one of the girls felt that they could confide in me about something they were upset about. Another one of my favorite moments was when myself and another mentor spoke with the girls about holiday traditions and we taught the girls about Hanukkah. We both learned something that day.
We have an entertaining bunch, so I have three!
All my girls (yes, I call them “mine”) rave about making slime. I had no clue how simple and extensive some of the recipes are, but I couldn’t just make the regular kind! Absolutely not. So, Fluffy Slime it was! I wanted that mentoring session to be more than just a good time. I created recipe cards and gave the girls a science lesson on polymers too. Think chewing gum and sneaker soles. I just remembered begging my parents to buy science kits in the mall when I was young; I was fascinated with them. Giving the girls a little piece of that made my inner spirit radiate.
I came up with this activity for the girls to paint Outer vs. Inner Self-Portraits of themselves for them to understand the differences in how others may see us versus how we see & feel about ourselves. Some of the girls understood it, and some insisted they were no different. Some shared their inner selves and some wouldn’t dare, so we moved within it or around it completely. We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made, but it’s always good to dig in and reflect the messages we carry.
Now for giggles… One of my girls was chatting about Cardi B. Being a semi-hip adult, I joined in the conversation. I know her music but I hadn’t dared to speak that woman’s infamous lingo. Skye challenged me to make that OK/roll of the tongue/bird sound. I told her to let me practice at home. The following week I shocked her life with an “Oooookkkkkurt”.
To learn more about mentoring opportunities, please contact Natasha Andrews, Director of Programs and Community Engagement at