December 2017 TeamMates of the Month: Feeling an Instant Connection with a Hand-Picked Match
One goal TeamMates mentors have is to continue to meet with their mentee until they graduate high school. But there are times when a mentor changes careers or moves and is not able to continue meeting with their mentee. That is exactly what happened with Heidi’s first mentor, Jeanie, who she had been meeting with for three years. Once Jeanie knew she was no longer able to continue mentoring, she took it upon herself to recruit a new mentor for Heidi. Jeanie’s coworker, Becky, was looking for ways to get involved in the community, and when she heard Jeanie was looking for someone to mentor Heidi, she applied to be a mentor. After training and interviewing with the TeamMates facilitator, Becky was able to meet with Heidi, and it turned out the two were a great match. “I was sad Jeanie was leaving, but it wasn’t a drastic change to someone who was the polar opposite,” says Heidi. “I felt an instant connection.”
“I could tell she enjoyed mentoring so much,” recalls Becky. “I felt some pride in being able to take over her legacy.”
One of the first things Becky wanted to do was learn Heidi’s family tree. Heidi is the youngest in a very large family and is also an aunt, so it was important for Becky to be able to keep everyone straight as Heidi shared stories. One way they did this was by making a scrapbook together. “Heidi just had stacks of pictures so we organized them and she got to tell me stories about people.”
Heidi has received several honors during her time at Northeast High School. She made honor roll the past two semesters and was an inaugural inductee into the National Business Honor Society. Members of the National Business Honor Society applied and were chosen based on their determination, responsibility, dependability and commitment. Heidi invited Becky to attend her honor roll recognition rally and National Business Honor Society induction ceremony. “I figured that I wanted someone there because it was a big deal and she’s been there through everything.”
As a senior, Heidi is thinking about and planning for college. She doesn’t want to be in the same situation she has seen with others who earn a college degree, but do not have a career that utilizes that degree. “I want to go to college because I want to further my education in something I can use. I want to be an interior designer and photographer.” Becky is helping Heidi with her scholarship applications and also offers her advice. She reminds Heidi about the importance of a college education, and “that even though others may not be using the degree they earned, they are still using things they learned.”
They have shared many fun memories together over the years, including the time they attended a Saltdogs game as members of the TeamMates “24 or More” Club. Becky even volunteered themselves to take part in different activities, like catching giant popcorn balls, between innings. But they are looking forward to the memories they have yet to make together. In February, they will be matched for five years and plan to celebrate their milestone by attending the annual TeamMates Recognition Event.
As they reflect on their time together, the lessons they’ve learned and the memories they’ve shared, Becky says, “On paper it looks like such a big commitment, but it has flown by. It is an experience that will change your life.”