In this guest blog, True2U mentor Donisha Greene shares lessons learned from her experience mentoring eighth grade Cleveland Metropolitan School District students.
By Donisha Greene
It was a no brainer. I was absolutely joining True2U’s newest volunteer mentor recruits, me and 44 of my fellow Cuyahoga County employees. After spending much of my professional career in the nonprofit sector – all in the community in which I live – very simply, I knew this work matters. But this? This was different. True2U had unearthed this community idealist who traded in City Year Timberland boots for equally rewarding but very different government public service work, successfully serenading me back in my community again. Although I was no novice, there are 3 things that stick out most from this very rewarding experience:
- If You Build It, They Will Come – It is something to behold when healthcare, government business and non-profit sectors can come together for a common cause making a real difference. Kudos to the thought leaders that realized a shared vision to not only be brave enough to tackle a very necessary targeted population but to also be bold enough to grow and expand the program in a very real and effective way. It’s an awesome feeling to know I’m part of the reason this year every single 8th grader in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is being served.
- Easy & Effective Curriculum Goes a Long Way – As a busy professional, I wasn’t quite sure if I had the stamina I once had to keep up with the clever wit and energy of teenagers, but the True2U program staff and materials make it almost effortless. You know you’re doing something right when you, the classroom teacher, AND the students don’t want the session to end.
- Kids Are Still Kids –It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand why you can make A LOT of money being a Youtuber by collecting millions of views from simply playing the latest video game, or that the social dynamics of middle school have completely changed, shifting from hand-to-hand notes on paper to an all-out visual story board of what you did over the weekend on Snapchat. Kids are still kids. Brian couldn’t wait to tell me about what he did on MLK Day. And Kenneth very excitedly shared his short story journal with me. All my students are something special and they have sincerely reminded me that my time, effort and attention matters and is welcomed.
True2U is an excellent program and I’m having a blast as a mentor. I highly recommend more mentors to join…you will not be disappointed!
True2U is currently seeking mentors for the 2018-19 academic year! If you’re interested in volunteering as a True2U mentor, learn more about the program and apply here.