Dwight & Symeon
Dwight and Symeon share a love of the outdoors.
Common interests help to build strong bonds.
Dwight is a beekeeper, an archer and all around outdoor enthusiast. He has been matched with a few different boys over the years, but he has been with his current mentee for 6 months. Symeon is 12 years old and enjoys being active and learning new skills. In fact, Dwight and Symeon met at CMC’s Camp Beck day where mentors and pals share a day of outdoor activities with children in our program. Symeon and Dwight are a great match!
Symeon’s mom was as delighted as Symeon to learn that Dwight is a beekeeper. Symeon’s grandpa kept bees for years and it was something the family really enjoyed. In a way Dwight is helping to keep a family tradition alive for Symeon by teaching him about bees. The two share so many interests, they never run out of things to talk about. Symeon’s mom even said, “If you have met Dwight, you have met my son!”
Together they’ve built 16 squirrel feeders since the fall, and Symeon has made $160 by selling them! At some point during this time, he needed 6 more feeders made so he said to Dwight, “Can you go ahead and make them for me?” Well, the answer was no. Dwight explained to him that this was a team project and they needed to make them together!
Since then, the squirrel feeders have been made and now they are moving onto bird feeders. Symeon has an order for 3 so far! He’s even having fun cleaning out bird houses and getting them ready for the spring.
A national study has demonstrated that children matched with a mentor are more likely to have better school attendance, avoid the use of illegal drugs and avoid violent behavior. Children’s Mentoring Connection recruits and screens caring adults so that we can help many more Hancock County youth just like Deontae’. Mentoring is important because many children do not have consistent contact with both their parents or perhaps, are being raised by grandparents or great grandparents. It means a lot to the children to know their mentor has chosen them and is committed to spending time with them. Mentoring makes a difference!
Melissa & Stephanie
CMC Match Fosters Family-Style Closeness
Melissa and her “little sister” of 11 years even look a little alike.
The match is so close that Melissa is No. 6 on Stephanie’s speed dial, perpetually at the ready for dispensing elder-sibling-type advice on boyfriends, school, parents, jobs and the importance of college.
Melissa recalled her first meeting with Stephanie, then a shy 6-year-old who had recently lost her dad and moved to a new town. The pair eyed each other over burgers at McDonald’s on Trenton Avenue, both deciding quickly that they’d found a new friend. Stephanie said she immediately gravitated toward Melissa but worried that Melissa might not like her. Her fears were totally unfounded, as it turned out: Melissa said she immediately took to the first-grader, then a pint-sized Melissa Gilbert look-alike, and thought she was just “so cute.”
The relationship flourished over the next 11 years as each young woman moved through various life changes. Melissa dated, married and helped raise stepchildren, Stephanie moved from grade to grade at school, played soccer and basketball, dated and began narrowing career choices.
Throughout that time, the pair spent hours together in person each month and additional hours on the phone, sharing the important minutiae of their lives. Sometimes, Friday evenings were spent just hanging out at Melissa’s house, eating a meal and watching a movie. Other times, they went shopping, to family gatherings, to Cleveland Indians or Browns games, or joined other mentors and their “littles” for bowling or roller skating parties.
By now, “she’s like a second parent to me,” Stephanie said of Melissa. “She’s been such a big part of my life. She taught me right from wrong, and things like being dependable – she’s always there for me when I call, no matter what the problem is.”
For her part, Melissa said she felt equally attached to Stephanie.
“Even if the (Children’s Mentoring Connection) program went away, we’d still be friends,” Melissa said. “She’s like family to me.”
Kevin & Tommy
“It is a very rewarding experience and a great way to make a difference in a young child’s life. It is also a unique opportunity to contribute your time and effort to a great cause and give back to our community.
Being a CMC mentor has been everything I expected and more. As a big brother, I have learned firsthand the difference that a mentor can make not only in someone else’s life, but also my own.”