Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RAW seeking new Project Launch Mentors

I thought about just posting the press release from RAW, but you've probably all read that already and if not, friend them on Facebook and check out their website to get it in their words. What I thought you might want to read is a little bit from one of the mentors in 2010, my wife, Sarah.

Guest Post from Sarah Jackson:

Last year, my neighbor raved to me about her Project Launch mentoring experiences and persuaded me to sign up. I'm so grateful that she did! It was incredibly rewarding to play a small role in helping a high school senior to achieve her goal of attending college—the first in her family.

When I began mentoring, I worried that I wouldn't be helpful. Maybe I'd be too rusty on financial aid and college applications. (Math scares me and applications are on the internet these days?!) Maybe I'd give bad advice. ("Why not spend four years in northern Alaska? And don't bother bringing a coat because it's soooo much warmer there.") Or, worst of all, maybe I'd make a wholly negative impact on my student. ("OMG, I really HATE Justin Bieber...wait, your long-lost brother is who? Oh, I meant that I hate all pop music... no, I don't remember our conversation from yesterday where you said you want to become a pop singer.")
However, through the fabulous guidance and encouragement of the program's leaders and other mentors, I quickly realized that being a mentor was itself tremendously helpful to the student, both tangibly and intangibly. Together, we tackled her college essays, her resume, considering where to apply, a long list of college prep to-dos, and email etiquette. My mentee would also tell me about the pressures and competing priorities of work, school, family and friends. She would occasionally ask for advice on these topics or would ask me about my own experiences.

For the record, we never did talk about Justin Bieber, but we did share stories about the video game Rock Band. I think I managed not to scar her for life when discussing my drumming skills.
At the end of the day, no matter how little or how much you work with your mentee—no matter how tangible or intangible your impact seems—the basic acts of caring, listening and being there make all the difference. Now a college freshman, my mentee emailed me recently to offer a quick update on how she's settling in to college life. I couldn't believe that this young woman would take the time to write to her former mentor in the midst of making new friends, taking classes and signing up for activities...then again, am I her former mentor, or have we simply begun a new chapter?

I look forward to starting that new chapter with another high school student this fall.

-Sarah Jackson
Become a mentor today! Please e-mail Susannah Horwitz at, or call at 781-593-5515 ext. 205.

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