I approached the Family Center over a year ago after considering various ways in which I could get more involved in community service. Through my involvement in the Robin Hood Foundation I was aware of the Family Center and the great work that they do. The mentoring program seemed like a great opportunity to get more hands-on and have a direct impact on a child’s life. When it was time to meet my mentee, I was introduced to an incredible boy named Joseph Jr. (JJ). He was a little quiet at first but really he just carries his excitement, energy and curiosity with an understated charm. The getting-to-know-you phase is always challenging for both mentor and mentee, so one of the first things JJ and I did was sit down and make a wish-list of things he would like to do that could be accomplished within the five boroughs of New York City. Some of the notable ones were trying sushi, learning to ride a bike and fishing.
One of our most memorable days was going to the NYC Learn-to-Ride program to get some guided supervision while JJ tackled the task of learning to ride a bicycle. It happened to be late in the season and we found an out-of-the-way location in Brooklyn on one of the last days in the season. It turns out we were the only ones to show up and JJ got tons of one-on-one time with the instructors. Sure enough, within two hours JJ was off and riding on his own, something the instructors said was unprecedented. It has been truly rewarding to spend time with JJ and we have a great rapport. He has such incredible potential and hopefully our time together helps him realize all he is capable of.
Buddy Program Mentor