I’ve been mentoring at Guest House for about a year and I’m also the Mentor Coordinator. Over the past year, I’ve met some really interesting, compassionate women—both as mentors and mentees. It’s really opened up my eyes and heart to the hardships that residents of Guest House have faced in their lives. And it’s also left me in awe in seeing how they’ve seized the opportunity to make a new start in the community, balancing so many things at once—jobs, housing, health issues and opening up to mentors and other volunteers and staff at Guest House. When I meet a new mentee, I’m never quite sure how the conversation will go, but I’ve found that if you’re honest and candid, it opens the door for a relationship to begin. That’s been very special to me—helping a friend in need. I’ve helped with resumes, looking for housing, giving fashion advice and just talking about families and our lives. And I’m always a little sad, when my mentee leaves Guest House and goes out on her own, but I’m also very happy when things falls into place. The women at Guest House are very special and they deserve the best that life can give them. I feel honored that I can play a part, even just a small one, to help them get back on their feet!
I recently heard a report on PBS’s “On Being” that said, “When you enter into communion with your neighbors, you learn and share how they feel, and it will teach you how you feel compassion….Our humanity grows as we experience the suffering of others. It builds, and forces the invention of a new answer…..”
I’m a very lucky person. I grew up in a loving family, though not without its troubles. I have a loving family of my own, complete with losses and heartaches. I had a good education, and a long career where I was able to use and hone skills that I think were hard wired into me from the beginning. My formal “career” is over, but I still have those skills, and they’re probably at their peak — so I feel an obligation in a sense for me to use them with others whom I can help, who may not have been born with the advantages I had.
I mentor for the women and I mentor for myself. Every time I mentor another woman at Guest House, I learn and grow. I listen and try to understand the world better by getting a view into their worlds, and figuring out how my experiences and connections can help them better maneuveur their own lives. It’s so big out there, and so hard! I try to help the women see pathways through their troubles — even as simple as laughing together at the irony of life. I share what I’ve learned through experience and age; sometimes it helps them and sometimes it doesn’t. But I come away with a better understanding of the words resilience, patience, strength, and humor, and I hope I make them each feel as special as they are.
Mentoring is my small way of trying to help the world be a better place.