Favorite Memories from Our 2015 – 2016 Kids Hope Mentors

By September 15, 2016Outreach

barbara_patton-noemiBarbara Patton

What I love the most about Noemi is her love of reading as a result of introducing her to it in Kids Hope. Also, I love the letters she has sent me over the years. She is a senior in high school now. On Facebook, she is a young lady! She is smiling in all of her pictures, she seems happy, and I am proud of her.

bob_diaz-luisBob Diaz

I have a wonderful memory of a time when Luis read a book and took his AR test afterward. We read the book together and he said he was ready to take the quiz on the computer. When the test score came back as 100 he jumped in his chair and raised his arms above his head. His smile was from ear to ear, and then he immediately looked around to see if any other students could see what he just did. He was so proud to get that 100 and his confidence began to grow from that day forward. I am so happy for him and reassured him that it was his effort that made it possible.

brian_eaton-emmanuelBrian Eaton

A great memory for me is teaching my student one of my favorite games (dominoes) and seeing his skills — math, logic, decision-making, etc. — as well as his enjoyment of the game increase throughout the year. Being a Kids Hope mentor is just a great way to put your faith into practice, make a positive impact on a young person, and have a lot of fun along the way.

terry_mcauley-carrie_adams-ketasiajairyanCarrie Adams

I have LOVED my time with JaiRyan and look forward to another exciting year with him. I love the moments when I can make him laugh and smile, but I especially love the times when he opens up and I get to see the real child inside his big personality and tough exterior. He is such a sweet and sensitive little soul.

carmen_flores-van_joviCarmen Flores

My favorite mentoring memory has been when Van Jovi did really well in his school work. It made me feel like I was truly being helpful and that is what I want to do — help my student to be successful in school. Another wonderful memory was reuniting with him after a long, three-month summer break. When he spotted me, he ran full speed to meet me and greeted me with a huge hug. It feels wonderful to recognize the needs of these students and realize that you can help them dramatically by simply showing them that you care and telling them that they are important.

debbie_griffith-misaelDebbie Griffith

I got involved in Kids Hope after I heard a presentation at our church and because the need was so great. It seemed like a good match for me. I also researched Kids Hope and was impressed with the organization — its mission and goals — and its association with local churches and schools, and I remain impressed as I begin my third year with my student. I often wondered if my student looked as forward to our weekly mentoring visits as I did. This question was answered in an unsuspecting way last spring when I arrived at his classroom door. Without even saying “Hi, Ms. Debbie,” as he always did, he simply looked at me and said, “You are three minutes late.” Question answered, lesson learned — just show up and be on time!

donna_prince-nevaehDonna Prince

One of my favorite memories actually happens each time I go for a visit with Nevaeh. My day changes often due to my other work schedule so, being a surprise to her, she always comes running up with a huge smile on her face. I love to listen to her tell me about her family because the boy I first mentored would hardly talk at all. It was very one-sided. Nevaeh is a breath of fresh air which makes me look forward to each visit. Having learned about the disadvantages that these students are faced with each day has really made me want to work harder to open up our world to them, to allow them to see what all is out there for them to strive to achieve.

fred_cantu-hectorFred Cantu

I’ve found with every one of the kids I’ve mentored so far that they really like the idea of an adult who has taken time to be with just them. One particular boy, Hector, struggled early and then was clearly becoming a much better student. We started playing games and that just lit up my day. His teacher told me that he’s never known a man like me, and of course I just completely lost it. I can’t begin to tell you how much every effort was like gold. Hector just owned me after that. He was saying that he was really glad that he had somebody to come visit him at school. You will change somebody’s life without even meaning to, and it helps change your life. Besides, it gives you an opportunity to play as an adult.

jana_buis-joseJana Buis

My favorite memory with Jose is when he completes his school work and then gets to choose his favorite game to play with me. He gets the biggest grin a shy little boy could ever have! It warms my heart to see him so excited to play a game with me! When I started mentoring last year for the first time, I had no idea how much my Kids Hope child would affect not only me, but also my daughter. My mentoring was changing her perception of what I do with my free time. I truly love making a difference in another little boy’s life! He is definitely changing my life along with my own family’s!


Jennifer and Brian Jolin

I remember that when I first met Angela she was in the third grade and reading on a pre-K level. Reading with her weekly through the eighth grade was a slow and steady process. Seeing her read proficiently after starting out so behind was really gratifying. Brian began mentoring Angela’s sister, Jessica, when she was in the third grade. We really enjoyed getting to know the family. As mentors, I know we gained much more than we gave. We don’t see the girls as often now that they’re in high school, but we try to get together occasionally and keep up with them on social media. We love them!

kathy_spicerKathy Spicer

It was soon to be Mother’s Day and the art teacher at T.A. Sims Elementary asked all students to draw a picture of their mothers to be displayed in the school hallways the week before this special occasion. When all of the pictures were completed and hung with great care, my student said that she wanted to show me the picture she had drawn. As we walked together down the hallways admiring all of the pictures, she stopped and pointed to one and said, “That’s mine. I drew a picture of you.”

lakshmi_krishnamurthy-gerardoLakshmi Krishnamurthy

One thing I remember from my meetings with Gerardo is that he was always in a good mood with a smiling face. I ask my friends to look at the kids in our schools. They deserve attention from society. People like us should develop a relationship with at least one child and show him or her that the path to achieve a good life is through acquiring knowledge and good study habits to last a lifetime.

lewis_ammons-esteban-lisa_bodleyLewis Ammons

My favorite memory was just seeing the sense of accomplishment when Esteban was able to work through a problem himself and understand how he got through the process. I think if someone has time, they would be surprised at how easy and helpful mentoring is to the student. It is not asking the volunteer to teach a student the world, but to assist and to pay total attention to the child.

lou_ann_blaylock-miriamLou Ann Blaylock

My most memorable time with Miriam was when I once missed two consecutive weeks of seeing her. The next time I saw her I asked how things had been going for her. She replied, “Not very good,” and I immediately asked WHY? She quickly replied, “You haven’t been showing up!”

louise_engle-marioLouise Engle

One of my favorite memories happened just recently. I picked up my student to take him to lunch. I asked him where he wanted to go. He said, “Let’s go to Subway because it is closer and that way we will have more time to talk.” When you become a Kids Hope mentor, be prepared to have warm, captivating experiences with a young person who will keep you young at heart!

lynn_harris-samanthaholyLynn Harris

I have had the pleasure of working with two young girls who happen to be best friends. Our threesome has shared six years of a special friendship and it has been a joy to watch “my girls” grow in knowledge and in wisdom. It was especially affirming to hear one of the girls express her decision to remain at a special school to further her education and to be college-ready by the time she is a senior. It is my hope that my other student will also recognize the importance of a good education to future success.

mary_andrewsMary Andrews

The first Kids Hope student I mentored had experienced a truly life-shattering event when her mother was fatally shot shortly after the start of her third-grade school year. There was no father in the picture — only a grandmother, loving teachers, and me. She kept her feelings to herself and could not bring herself to talk with anyone at all about her unspeakable loss. I met with her weekly and she did her best to keep a smile on her face. We read a book together about a young girl who also experienced the loss of her mother. She readily identified with the story and began talking about her mother, expressing her sadness, and asking profound questions. I am grateful that I was her friend at this time and place in her life.

lewis_ammons-esteban-lisa_bodleyLisa Bodley

A special memory for me and one that I will never forget was the time we provided ice cream floats for the students at the end-of-school party. You truly see how much it means to kids in need. Something as simple as ice cream can change lives. It reminds me of the butterfly effect. One small change — in this case, mentoring a child — can change the world. I think that is what mentors hope to show that one child: you are special, you can have a successful life, and there is someone who cares and will show up week after week to be there for you and only you.

kids-hope-usa-kick-off-10-15-041_41-nancy-tully-and-jeremiahNancy Tully

One of my favorite memories was two years ago when Curvontey and I were first matched. As I was leaving one of our visits, he broke out of the lunch line and rushed to give me a hug. It made me feel special. Of course, mentoring is not about making me feel special — it’s about making our students feel special. But it’s a two-way street. I may never know if my efforts are making a difference, but those special moments are worth far more than any of the time or effort I put into it.

kids-hope-end-of-year-party-5-15-img_0267-2-paula-thomas-and-angiePaula Thomas

It’s the hugs and smiles on their faces. It’s the trust you are handing them that you care. It takes a while for the child to trust you enough to tell you about their experiences, but then it is a friend, a buddy, and a confidant. It’s a great adventure filled with loving emotions.

kids-hope-usa-kick-off-10-15-035_35-penny-beasley-and-mickaelaPenny Beasley

My favorite memory with my mentee is the look on her face and the way she feels when she beats me at a game! We always practice her reading first and then play a game. She is very smart, but struggles with school work due to learning differences. As a former Special Ed teacher and parent, I am very aware of how students with learning differences struggle with self-esteem and feel different from the other students. It is my joy to work with this young student. Mentoring students at T.A. Sims is a joyful and a worthwhile volunteer opportunity in which I always receive more than I give.

kids-hope-end-of-year-party-5-15-img_0277-2-ron-white-jesus-and-dmarion_Ron White

When I first met D’Marian, we were sharing things about each other and I told him I played the guitar. He asked if I would buy him a guitar. When I asked him why, he said that if he had one he could learn to play it and sing so he could make some money, help pay his family’s water bill, and get the water turned back on. He was a second-grader worried about his family’s utility bills.

scott_arnold-eduardoScott Arnold

One of my favorite memories was my student’s mom telling me how much Eduardo looked forward to visiting with me each week and how much she’s seen our relationship help him both at home and at school. The time and energy that you commit each week not only helps a student in need, but you also get a lot in return from seeing the excitement in your student when you pick them up from the classroom each week and getting to see them grow over the course of the school year. An hour a week goes a long way for both you and the student.

torrie-susan_idlemanosvaldoSusan Idleman

My favorite memory with my Kids Hope child was the last six weeks of her second-grade year when she excitedly announced that she would be attending the accelerated reader ice cream party. This was a huge accomplishment since she wasn’t able to read when we met at the beginning of second grade. Through my encouragement and her hard work, she was able to achieve her goal. One hour a week during the school year can positively impact children for their entire lives!

terry_mcauley-carrie_adams-ketasiajairyanTerry McAuley

My favorite memory is when Ketasia started hugging me at the end of our hour, walking her back to class. After that first hug, they never stopped! It’s such a short time to be with your child. They enjoy seeing us weekly and depend on us. We may be the one consistency in their week, and it shows when they see us.



Subscribe to E-News

Subscribe to Newsletter Footer