We were honored by the Juneau Empire's recent article about our graduation from the University of Alaska Southeast. We'd also like to share another success story. All three of us have been involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters school mentoring program while in college. While each of us got involved for different reasons, we share one common wish: To make a difference in the life of a child.
UAS commencement: One ceremony, many different stories
Kim's story: As a full-time UAS student, I didn't have time to take on a full-time job working with kids but I wanted to be involved somehow. After working as a Montessori teacher last summer, I realized the importance of connecting one-on-one with kids. I wanted to reconnect with my youngest student, Kylie, who is now attending Harborview School. I saw the importance of continuity in the lives of young children and believed I could provide that continuity as a volunteer school mentor. This allowed me to spend time in a school setting, reconnect with my former student, and also help others in the class.
Brad's story: I got involved because I missed my nephews and nieces and being able to hang out with kids is really fun. Kids have a great perspective on life that adults sometimes forget. I wanted to reconnect with a child's perspective. A day I will always remember is when I arrived at Auke Bay School to meet with Travis and he was not in class. Just as I was checking in the office to see if he was absent, he came in with a note. As we were walking back to class, he told me that he was not feeling well that morning but realized it was Tuesday, which is our meeting day, and came to school to see me.
Angela's story: Being a mentor for the last year and a half has been a wonderful experience for me. This year was particularly exciting because I had a full school year with one student. As the year progressed I could see the excitement in Darian as I came to class each week. During the second semester, I stayed for lunch with Darian at her request and my desire to stay longer. This brought us closer together by giving us time to chat and hang out after we worked on class assignments like spelling and cursive writing. This is the time I will remember most. It gave us the opportunity to really connect and get to know each other.
Thanks to the Big Brothers Big Sisters school mentoring program, we got to leave campus for an hour a week and go to our respective schools, giving us the opportunity to be kids again. That weekly meeting is something we looked forward to as much as the kids did. We highly recommend other college students or community members get involved in this fulfilling program.