Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mentoring. A Personal Testimony. A Life Journey.

In previous messages, I've talked about what people and organizations need to do to strengthen the infrastructure of comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in this country.

I draw my passion from 30 years of leading a tutor/mentor program in Chicago. I first got involved as a volunteer in a program hosted by the Montgomery Ward Corporation. That was 1973.

This morning I received an email from the boy that I first tutored back in 1973 when he was in 4th grade and I was in my first year as a volunteer. He's 43 now. I've been to every one of his graduations. Grade School. High School. College. Wedding.

He's in Nashville now. I had not heard from him for a few years, so today's message was a pleasant surprise.

He wrote, " I cannot believe that is has been over 30 years since we've met. When I look back over the years, you were always there for me. My next trip to Chicago is planned for July 2006. I will make it a top priority to find you, and tell you thanks again. You have really been a great inspiration to me. Thank you."

I wrote to him that I felt lucky to be part of his life and that my involvement with thousands of youth and volunteers in the years since has enriched my life in probably more ways than I was able to change his.

We both benefited and that's why I want to find ways to make it possible for more youth and adults to connect in this type of mentoring. That's the reason for the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

If your life has been touched by a mentor, or by a student that you have mentored, please share your story.

Dan Bassill

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