You earn the right to learn your mentees’ stories, their hopes, dreams, and fears.
Minds Matter Colorado is more than a college access and success program. It is more than a mentoring program. The blend of these two things is what makes this organization unique. Yes, our community of students, families, volunteer mentors and program leaders all come together in service of helping phenomenal young people navigate their journey to college success. But HOW we do it – by building close relationships over 3 years of regular, facilitated conversations and activities, leads to truly transformational relationships and community.
And so, every fall I field questions from first-time volunteer mentors about how this all plays out. I hear the eagerness and anticipation of what this can mean from both students and adults alike. And every fall my observation and guidance is the same: have you met a 15 year old who answers your questions deeply the first time you meet them? No! Keep showing up. Build trust. Earn the right to learn your students’ stories, their hopes, dreams, and fears.
Because for every first-time mentor I talk to who is anxious about doing it right, I hear from a second or third-year mentor who is delighted to share how relationships are evolving, conversations are deepening, and how FUN it’s been to grow as a team of mentors and students.
As we settle into the cycle of another fall of new and deepening relationships here at Minds Matter, I’m also thinking a great deal about our graduated students/mentees, and wishing them success in their undergraduate years in colleges and universities across the country.
This fall and winter, I’ll be making the rounds to see many of our Colorado-based alumni in-person. Already, I’ve had the chance to visit students at CSU and hear senior Nathalie Morales share her story with first-year students (and MMCO co-mentees!) Coral, Adrian, and Karen – see the picture. Congratulations to Nathalie on her plans to move to the CU Anschutz Campus next year to start pharmacy school (and for being one of the very few students I’ve ever encountered who thought Organic Chemistry was No Big Deal!). Next stops are CU Boulder and University of Denver!
Thank YOU so much for being a member of this special community and for your support, which helps students like Nathalie, Coral, Adrian, and Karen succeed in college and change the world!