On a day-by-day scale, the Tehama County Mentoring Program offers kids an opportunity to receive help with homework, a person to play games with, a listening ear, and a special friend. Stepping back to look on a larger scale, the benefits of the program are much greater. The Mentoring Program ultimately offers tools for success, someone to depend on, and as my family has discovered, relationships that quickly become a part of your life.
It all started when my dad heard about the Lunch Buddies program from a coworker. My mom learned of the Mentoring Moms program, and I read about Cross-Age Mentoring in a newsletter. We were all interested and started getting involved with the Tehama County Mentoring Program. Before long, we had become a mentoring family.
My name is Mary Hurton. I am a senior in high school and I have been mentoring for two years. My dad, Pat, has mentored for 4 years now, and my mom, D’Lorah, has mentored for almost two. While we each participate in a different branch of the Tehama County Mentoring Program, we share common objectives, and we share the joy that comes with mentoring.
Through the Cross-Age program, I meet with Alex, a fifth-grader, at his elementary school once or twice a week and help him with homework. My mom spends time with Lena, a teenage mom, doing all kinds of activities like shopping or cooking. My dad also takes his mentee, Kyle, to a lot of different things, mostly out to lunch or bringing him lunch and eating with him at school.
We have smiled together as I told of Alex giving me his goldfish crackers as a Christmas present the last time I went to see him before the semester break. We have brainstormed together on everything from how I can make fractions seem a little less boring to how I can help Alex want to reach out to an unpopular classmate. Lena has been ice-skating with our family and Kyle has come over to my brother’s house to watch a World Series game with us. Our living room has framed pictures of my mom baking with Lena, and my dad at a Giants game with Kyle. I have many heartfelt notes from Alex taped to my closet door.
Our mentees are woven into our lives. They fill our thoughts, they give us purpose, and as we watch them grow up, we learn from them just as they learn from us. Just as mentoring has given us strong relationships with Kyle, Lena, and Alex, it has strengthened our family as well. My mom said it best: “Mentoring together brings out the best in our family.”