To celebrate National Mentoring Month, mentor Dave, speaks about the importance of mentoring.
Dave’s journey towards mentoring was motivated out of compassion. After serving as a camp counselor in the early 2000s and working closely with many children of different backgrounds, his desire to inspire youth was rekindled in 2015 to honor a child he worked with back then who experienced mental health challenges.
When Dave and Josh met almost two years ago, they immediately developed a special connection with each other. Josh was 12 and a resident at Willowood “Cottage” struggling with severe emotional and behavioral issues due to his past history of neglect and let downs with adults in his life. As Dave began to spend time with Josh, he recognized his desperate yearn for trust and feelings of value. Within 2-3 months of them being matched, Josh’s behavior began to make dramatic improvements. He earned the title of “Resident of the Month” and was approved to transition into a foster home which offers more independence. Josh is now 14 and lives with his foster parents in one of Marygrove’s foster homes. Dave and Josh are both grateful for each other and the bond they’ve built in such a short time. They enjoy participating in a variety of activities, but you can often find them grabbing a pizza, watching movies or playing video games together.
“Being a mentor is truly the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done and has impacted my life in ways I’ll never forget. It’s helped me to learn that although negative situations may occur in a young person’s life, it does not have to define their future. My primary focus as a mentor is to make sure that Josh knows he is good, kind, funny, & valuable.”