In 2006 our son was in 5th grade and was paired with a mentor who was entering his senior year at IHS. Over the course of the year the two built an amazing friendship. Our son's mentor was with our son each week during the school for 1-2 hours, and 4-5 hours weekly during holidays, breaks and summer vacation. Even after our mentor's high school graduation, he continued his relationship and weekly times with our son until the mentor went off to college.
What was quite surprising about this mentor was that he was very kind, humble, dedicated, committed and loyal in his mentoring approach, friendship with our son and participation with Athletes for Kids. And this young man also happened to be captain of the football team, state wrestler and honors student. He was very well liked by his classmates and teachers, and even local organizations like Rotary recognized him for his outstanding achievements. Yet he never drew attention to himself and wanted to showcase our son's interests and ways to build on their friendship.
Even after the mentor went to college, he and our son kept in touch via phone and email, and direct visits when the mentor came home to visit his own family. Our son even made trips to his mentor's college to see him play football or just spend time with him. The mentor has since graduated from college and now lives and works in Boston. Our son has been out to Boston to visit him, and whenever the mentor is in Seattle they get together for direct visits. They frequently talk via phone, email, texting and Facebook. The mentor is like a big brother to our son and they have a very strong relationship.
Our son is now a senior at IHS this year and is preparing a video for his Eagle Scout Project on the importance of mentoring and the AFK program. He wants others to know how important mentoring is, especially for kids with challenges, and use the video as his "Pay it Forward" opportunity. Our son has greatly benefited from this program and especially with his ongoing relationship with his mentor that started 7 years ago.
Thanks to all the AFK mentors, supports and staff! This is a remarkable program and we feel very lucky to have been recipients.
The Lawrence family (Issaquah, WA)