Does Mentoring Make a Difference?

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Her tear-filled eyes wide, Abe’s mother pulled her teacher aside after ESL class one day in late August. Her teenage son, a high school senior, was failing chemistry at school and hiding in his room at home. Could the ESL instructor find a tutor for him? The instructor jumped into action, reaching out to several potential tutors before she found a very bright university student with a keen grasp of chemistry. They began meeting regularly, and Abe’s grades soon rose.

But a month later, Abe’s emotional state had not improved. His mother came back to her ESL instructor, sad and a little afraid for her son. The instructor began a new search. This time, she found a friendly young man who wasn’t particularly gifted at any school subject but who loved a good game of pickup basketball and didn’t mind splitting a pizza now and then. Mac picked up Abe once or twice a month to attend a UT game, go bowling, or watch a movie with his roommates back at their apartment.

With continued chemistry support plus the attention of Mac and his friends, Abe’s confidence soared. He quit hiding in his room, and he didn’t mind going to school. When prom season rolled around, Abe didn’t have many friends at school, but he decided to go to prom anyway. He put on his best suit and walked into this apex of high school social events all by himself!

A month later, Abe graduated from high school, and now he attends a nearby community college. He and Mac stay in touch.

Abe was one of many international young people who long for a true friend amid all the stresses of high school life. In his case, it took a few months and two mentors, but Abe’s life has changed for the better—all because his mother reached out to KIN.

January is #NationalMentoringMonth. It doesn’t take an advanced degree or a mind-blowing set of experiences to be a good mentor. All it takes is a little generosity of your time. If you would like to mentor an international young person or an international professional, begin by completing our volunteer application. Need more information first? Contact KIN’s volunteer coordinator.

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