Content warning: Divorce
When clients come to The Bridge, our teams work together to provide the best all-around care. One such client was Kaylee, who first came to The Bridge as a 5-year-old in need of therapeutic services. She was diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder –a lack of coordination between your mental intentions and your ability to get your body to carry out those intentions–and needed to address issues related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the parent-child relationship, acting out behaviors, and dealing with her parents’ divorce. As Kaylee grew older, her father would re-engage her in counseling services when needed. After turning 11, Kaylee’s father and her Bridge therapist agreed that she would greatly benefit from having additional support in the way of positive adult female role models and was referred to our mentoring program.
On her first day, Kaylee recalls being nervous and refusing to get out of the car to attend the group activity. She was shy and apprehensive about interacting with the mentors and mentees, as building peer relationships had always been one of her greatest challenges. However, after some time and with patience and positive reinforcement, Kaylee started to feel increasingly comfortable in the group. She attributes this to nurturing mentors and her ability to slowly build enough confidence to talk to people and make friends with the other mentees in the program. The mentoring program gave Kaylee a safe and structured place to be her authentic self, to explore new interests, and build important and long-lasting relationships with adults and peers.
Camping proved to be one of Kaylee’s favorite activities with the group. However, her mentors noted that she truly shined when she participated in the group’s service projects. Kaylee had a natural affinity for reaching out to help others whether they were the two- or four-legged variety. Her favorite projects involved working with dogs, but she also enjoyed performing random acts of kindness by helping neighbors and offering compassion to others in their darkest moments. On one such occasion, a local teen died in an accident. Kaylee took the initiative and suggested that the mentoring group do something to show support for the family. She even paid a personal visit to the family to deliver a gift prepared by all the program’s participants.
When asked who made the largest impact on her life, Kaylee credits three mentors from the program. Jane, who tutored and helped her realize her ability to succeed. Eda, who took the time to talk one-on-one with Kaylee about her potential career options and life choices. Then there was Josie, a neighbor Kaylee recruited to join the mentoring program. The two became a matched mentor/mentee pair and went on to enjoy this relationship for the next four years. During that time, Kaylee remembers Josie helping her with everything from getting through high school when she felt discouraged to assisting with making sense of peer relationships and ultimately becoming an adult. Her fondest memories with Josie are the walks and bike rides they took regularly. Kaylee does not refer to Josie as her mentor, rather a life-long friend.
Kaylee is now 18 years old and doing extremely well. She graduated from high school with the hopes of pursuing her dream of attending culinary school and has become a junior mentor. She has also taken on the responsibility of welcoming new youth to the program, helping them feel at ease, like others did for her when she was younger.
Thank you to Kaylee for sharing your story and to the mentors that positively influenced Kaylee’s life.
We are always in need of adult mentors, click here for more information on how to volunteer.
The client stories shared on our blog are based on real scenarios, but names and identifying details have been changed or removed.