Make a Difference in a Child’s Life, Become a YES SUCCESS Mentor
Mirium was painfully shy and struggling in school before her mentor, Debra, came into her life. She smiles brightly as she recalls some of the fun activities she and Debra have done, including horseback riding and an outing on a friend’s boat to see the hydroplane races. “I have fun,” she says.
“I get at least as much out of it as Mirium does,” said Debra. “I really love the changes I am seeing in her,” she added.
“At SUCCESS, we work really hard to match mentors and mentees,” said Jose Gomez, the program coordinator. “We support everyone throughout the process, providing training, guidance and advice as they need it,” added Gomez.
The program is looking for volunteers interested in making a difference in the life of a child. Currently, more than 30 youth, many of them boys, are on a waiting list to be matched with a mentor, and some have been waiting for many months.
The commitment to be a mentor is just two hours a week for a year, although many matches continue beyond that time. Many of the youth come from single parent families and need extra guidance from another caring adult.
No experience with children is needed because you build a relationship doing the things you both enjoy. SUCCESS welcomes mentors who are young professionals, retirees, or are people who have raised a family and want to give back. Mentors receive training and support from skilled YES counselors.
While at first all mentors and mentees are nervous, they soon relax and enjoy a positive and fun experience.
As a regular volunteer and former camp counselor Matt was interested, but worried whether he would know what to do. After a year of being matched with Andrew, Matt says it feels very natural, “It’s just relationship building.”
“We get a lot of support from the YES staff and they help organize some fun activities to share,” said Matt. Each mentor and mentee decide what works best for them and activities range from eating out, laser tag, theater and visiting parks, to homework, video gaming and just “hanging out.”
If you’re interested in mentoring a youth, contact Youth Eastside Services at 425.747.4937, or learn more about the SUCCESS Program visit YouthEastsideServices.org.
“There’s a lot of joy awaiting you and your mentee,” said Gomez.