88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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"Make A Difference": Milwaukee Mentors | Wrap Up

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Listen: As a wrap up for Milwaukee Mentors, a consortium of five organizations that provide mentors for youth in Milwaukee, I put together bits of interviews from four middle schoolers who are part of the YMCA's One on One program (pictured below). I managed to catch up with them while they were on a field trip to the Urban Ecology Center's Fall Festival at Riverside Park. They were there with YMCA staff, feeding snakes, getting their faces painted, and being serenaded by a mandolin orchestra while they ate potatoes (it was a really fun event). [caption id="attachment_1312" align="aligncenter" width="374" caption="(Top) Jeremiah, Deshawn, Alejandro, and (Bottom) Christina"]GEDC0082[/caption] With a chance to talk to them apart from their mentors, I decided to make an attempt to draw out some candid opinions about their mentors, the program, and what mentorship means to them. The following four clips are a summary of what I took to be the typical middle schooler's path with a mentorship organization, from beginning and uncertainty to active involvement and familiarity. Most youth in need of mentorship aren't looking for a complete overhaul in their life -- oftentimes, they just want something to do that's productive. In this first clip, Jeremiah shares what he would be doing without the One on One program: [audio=1] If you're a phenomenal, dynamic person, you will probably make a great mentor. However, most kids aren't expecting that. They just want a little bit of time and attention. In this clip, Alejandro, who is new to One on One and is still waiting for his match, shares what he wants in a mentor, and as you'll hear, he isn't too demanding (hint: he wants somebody that isn't grumpy all the time): [audio=2] When youth are first matched with a mentor, it can be difficult at first. Being truly open with a new adult might take some time and getting used to. In this clip, Christina talks about her first experiences with her mentor, and how things have progressed since the beginning: [audio=3] As mentor/mentee matches spend more time together, the relationship probably resembles a normal friendship more than anything else. The activities don't need to be exotic to be worthwhile.  In this final clip, Deshawn shares some of his favorite things he's done with his mentor: [audio=4] Being a mentor is not hard, but sometimes, finding the right program can be. If you're at all interested in being a mentor, Milwaukee Mentors is a great resource to get you started. The restrictions of your schedule and availability is always something that needs to be taken into account before delving in. With a their range of organizations to choose from, you are bound to find a program that fits what you had in mind. And there's no time to lose -- as you heard above, the kids just want to make a connection with somebody like you. For more information on Milwaukee Mentors, visit their website. Also, if you're interested in getting involved with Milwaukee Mentors, this is a direct link to their volunteering page. Produced by: Adam Carr   [caption id="attachment_1313" align="aligncenter" width="467" caption="Having fun at the Urban Ecology Center with faces painted."]At the Urban Ecology Center, with faces painted.[/caption]