"We just got lucky, didn't we?"
When Kelli and her husband, long-time supporters of Metro, became empty nesters, she knew she had to start mentoring.
"I felt a little void and needed the stir of children in my life," she said. So she joined Big Brothers Big Sisters.
After her Little moved to a different county, Kelli decided to look into our Partnership School Reading Mentor Program. She got a tour of the campus and learned how easy it was to get started.
"I dont believe in volunteering if you can't fulfill the mission. This was perfect for my schedule."
She was soon paired up with Andrely, a then third-grader at the J. Sullivan Partnership School, and they have been meeting now for two years! They've become good friends and see each other at least once a week, sometimes more.
"We just got lucky, didn't we?" Kelli said to Andrely.
Though they started off as reading partners, they now do many other fun activities together.
"We make slime together... we work on homework... we play games."
Kelli has enjoyed seeing Andrely's confidence grow as they build trust in their friendship, and Andrely shared that she desires to be a mentor when she gets older.
"[She] has basically helped me with my life," Andrely said, turning to Kelli. "Thank you."
Our volunteers come from all walks of life. And they all have one main thing in common: the desire to make a difference in the life of a child.
“I encourage others to do the same. It’s very rewarding and you walk away feeling good about the establishment and about your mentee.”
Kelli plans to continue mentoring Andrely as she goes into middle school next year.
Do you want to be a mentor to a child like Andrely? We are looking for working professionals who are seeking meaningful interaction with homeless and at-risk children through Metropolitan Ministries.
Metropolitan Ministries has two mentoring opportunities available to you:
1. The Metropolitan Ministries Mentoring Program, administered by Big Brothers Big Sisters
2. Metropolitan Ministries Partnership School Reading Mentor Program
Children in Tampa Bay who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless need positive academic, social and emotional support. Through mentoring, you can be hope to a child and help make the most of his or her potential by offering encouragement and a connection.
Ready to get started? Contact Christina Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813.209.1045.