- Kim Caraganis
Being a Mentor to a Six year old
April 25, 2011
My experiences as a one-month mentor to my mentee I van at Chatham County Together (CCT).
By Milburn Gibbs
Ivan is a six-year old first grader. I have been his mentor since April 1, 2011. If I had had the choice of what age child to have as a mentee, I would have chosen exactly what I have – a very bright child, loving and caring and obviously anxious to have our relationship. I frankly don’t know which of us is more privileged, so I will call it equal.
The first time I ever met Ivan (the first of April, 2011) he immediately gave me three wonderful “I am so glad to meet you hugs” without anyone encouraging him. I don’t mean a cheap, obligatory hug either – Ivan was obviously sincere in his greeting, and I was thrilled and delighted.
The best word to describe his and my relationship is “fabulous.” Probably there is no better description concerning our relationship than equally privileged to both the young man and a very delighted mentor who sees great things in both of our future relationship.
Since the initial meeting, all three of Ivan’s siblings (all older) immediately come to hug and greet me warmly each time we meet.
I wanted to give Ivan some books to read. A friend who owns a used bookstore picked out some age-suited books for him. He was delighted. I expect he probably has read the initial books but the future will hold as many as Ivan can read.
My wife, Lala, and I took Ivan to the Third Friday extravaganza at the N.C. Arts Incubator here in Siler City last week, where he was exposed to not only art, but to the atmosphere this wonderful cultural event provides. We stayed for several hours, culminating at Chana Meeks’ art studio. Within minutes at Chana’s, Ivan had discovered a new friend and the two children sat down to draw and paint pottery at The Raleigh Street Gallery. I believe both the young children would have stayed much longer except it was all of our bedtimes!
Ivan simply walked up to Dana (his new cultural friend) and asked if she would like to draw with him. Both remarked how much they wanted to come back to the gallery and continue an artistic relationship. Without saying, the adults were thrilled with such prospects.
Ivan and I had been bused to the Marble Museum in downtown Raleigh two weeks ago, when Chatham County Together (CCT) had sponsored two Chatham Transit buses which carried a large group of CCT mentees, mentors and staff for the fabulous trip.
I could not give a grade of more than A+ to CCT for their interest in young children needing mentoring services. I hope to be part of this wonderful service for many years to come.
For those interested in mentoring the next Mentor Orientation/Information Session on May 12th in Pittsboro. The orientation will be held at the Department of Social Services from 6 – 8 PM. Food will be provided. For more information, you can contact the MCP Volunteer Coordinator, Justin Lana, at 919.663.0116 or Justin@chathamcountytogether.org.
Unfortunately, funding for Chatham County Together’s! Mentoring Children of Prisoners (MCP) program has been cut from the federal budget, effective September 30th, 2011. Executive Director Kim Caraganis has set the goal to raise to raise $75,000 in order to continue to these services to serve the many qualified children that live here in Chatham County. Please send your tax deductible contributions to CCT! PO Box 903 Siler City, NC 27344
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