Kelen and Maureen

Kelen and Maureen

Kelen and Maureen

When mentor Maureen Greer thinks back to the day she met her mentee, Kelen, in 2004 she remembers a radiant smile on Kelen’s face. To which Kelen replies, “Was I actually smiling back then? I was so depressed.”

 Since then, both Kelen and Maureen have had plenty of opportunities to smile as one of the longest running matches in the Tehama County Mentoring Program. Both say that one of the greatest things about their relationship has been the chance to do things that they never would have done without the benefit of knowing each other. “I introduced her to animals!” says Kelen, “Now she wants a dog!” With that, it’s Maureen’s turn to smile. She’s still not likely to own a dog, but she has opened up to the concept of spending more time around them. To nurture Kelen’s interest in animals, Maureen signed them both up to volunteer at the animal shelter as well as a wildlife rehabilitation center.

 The two have also explored local theatre and their local community. They laugh about the day early on in their relationship when they were driving to a Renaissance Faire. “We were taking the scenic route” says Maureen. “We were lost!” interjects Kelen. “That’s why now I pay more attention where we are.”

 “Kelen and I both have our little quirks” says Maureen, “And there’s room for respecting them. One of the things I admire about Kelen is that she is willing to learn.”

 Kelen admits that her mentoring relationship has helped her to not act out in anger any more. But she also admits that she didn’t immediately take to her mentoring relationship. The secret, she relays, is that, “We opened up. Well, I opened up. I remember the first couple of days (with Maureen) I didn’t even talk.”

 For Maureen’s part, getting through those initial visits wasn’t that difficult. “I take the concept of commitment very seriously,” she says. “My original commitment was for a year. By the end of the year I realized that this kid was going to be in my life for life. That was a surprise.” Maureen became a mentor because she has a strong inclination towards community service and wanted to do something in youth development.

Now though, it seems Maureen’s a mentor simply because, “Kelen’s fun. She’s great company.”

With that, Kelen’s face lights up and you can see her scheming to get Maureen to own a dog.

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