Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mentoring with Mazie

Had a very inspiring evening last night with the Mazie Foundation. I'm a mentor-volunteer, so I went with my mentee to the ceremony where the kids stand up and talk about the goals they set months ago and how they achieved them.

The program is for promising but at-risk kids who just need a little non-professional encouragement to get themselves to the next level. Founded by a family whose son was killed tragically in a car accident, the Foundation has helped several hundred kids achieve academic and personal goals.

I like this quote from the Website: "No one makes it in America without some kind of mentor. Whenever successful people look back, they cite those older adults who influenced their development, even if they knew each other for only a short time." It shows what a difference one person can make.

I definitely could see the results last night at the ceremony. There were kids from all over the world: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nigeria, the Ukraine. Each one came to this country with decided disadvantages and difficult family situations. Often they were leaving parents or other family behind to follow a dream to come to American, only to find that life here was just as hard as the one they left—and they had to learn English. But as each one stood and read the essays they'd written for their college application, I could see the strong spirit of each. They have lofty goals, including becoming surgeons, pediatricians or computer programmers. One girl wants to study AIDS so she can go back and help her country.

My mentee and I spent the evening cracking jokes to each other. She has a razor sharp sense of humor and is unfailingly cheery and positive, even though the circumstances of her background are harder than I can imagine enduring. She doesn't even mind the occasional hug. We've only known each other these few months, but as she hopped out of the car last night, she threw me a quick, "Love you!"

All this inspiration is happening right here in little Framingham. I'm thinking this morning of kids around the country, from the most crowded urban scene to the most bucolic rural area, displaced from the place of their birth, struggling to make sense of life here. I'm thinking of the kids who were born here, no less confused, yet full of the same promise and energy that just needs some channeling and guidance.

I've learned, too, that parents can't always get the job done. When the parent is in survival mode, there's not a lot left over to encourage or inspire their kids to higher achievement (although each of the kids last night thanked their parents effusively for their support and hard work).

So I'm praying for these kids today, that the Divine will lead them to the resources they need, that caring adults will take the time to stop, look, and listen—and see that one word of encouragement can go a long way. I pray that the resonance of giving and receiving will scoop up these kids in the cycle of good, blessing both them and the ones who took the moment to care.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 3/15/2007 09:22:00 PM, Anonymous Heather said...


This was lovely. :) I wish major news networks carried more stories like these.


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