The Impact of Mentors
Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha offers a variety of ways to mentor, designed to fit the needs of the child and your schedule. You may mentor as an individual, with a friend or as a couple or family. It’s the most rewarding experience you may ever have. Just be yourself, we'll handle the rest.
Children need a set of basic connections to help them through the challenges faced as they grow. Supportive role models are essential to a happy and successful adulthood. We all had a special person or two that, without their guidance and support, our lives might be very different.
On average, our Young Friends do better in school and make plans to get more education and training after high school graduation. Kids who are mentored have the confidence to resist negative peer pressure because they have an adult who they trust and can confide in. It is easy to bring a child into your life and be a mentor, but the impact can be profound.
The stories below are a small sample of things we hear every day. Mentors are super heroes.
Hannah and Debbie - Community-Based Mentoring
Hannah is a graduate of the Community-Based Mentoring program and is currently studying nursing at Edgewood College in Madison. She had this to say a the close of her match:
"The Best Friends program has had such a positive impact on me. My mentor Debbie gave me so much that I will be forever grateful for. She provided me warm meals, a safe place to sleep, and love; things I did not always receive at home. She exposed me to so many positive experiences that I otherwise would not have had. These experiences ranged from taking me to church on Sunday mornings, to staying up late on a Saturday night to watch movies with me, to everything in between. Debbie was so much more than a mentor, she was the one person in my life I could (and still can) go to for anything, good or bad, she was there to support me.”
David and Phil - Lunch Mentoring
"Becoming a mentor was one of the most meaningful and impactful decisions I’ve ever made. Over the course of our twelve-year friendship, I’ve seen David grow tremendously as a person. David is from a very large family, didn’t get much attention at home and had a troubled relationship with his parents. He was very shy, but by the end of our first game of Candyland, we had a great conversation going about his love of drawing and comic books. Meeting him at school for lunch was always the highlight of my week and I know he looked forward to it by the way he lit up when I arrived. As he got older, our conversations moved towards things like homework, girls and careers. Now, as a 21-year-old college student, David tells me how much he appreciated the consistency of seeing me each week and knowing that he had someone that would support him no matter what. My proudest moment came recently when he told me that once he graduates, he plans to become a mentor himself!"
Izayah and Sheldon - After-School Mentoring
Izayah, a Young Friend in the Menasha After-School program, comes running into the room each week full of energy and excitement to spend time with his mentor Sheldon. “I get so excited to hang out here every week because Sheldon is the coolest friend to have.” said Izayah.
Sheldon explained why it is so meaningful to be a mentor. “Most days Izayah is happy and excited to see me, but some days I know he had a hard day at school because when he gets here he throws his backpack down and has a mean look on his face. I usually try to get a game going and that usually helps. By the time the program is over, he has a better attitude and seems much happier.”