December 2018 TeamMates of the Month: Quick Connection & Long-term Commitment
From their first meeting, Cindy and Macey clicked. Macey was a fourth-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary, and Cindy was a former principal missing daily student interaction. Both felt it was a great match from the start. Macey was shy and a worrier, especially when faced with new situations. Cindy was experienced with children and patient in building trust – perfect attributes for helping Macey gain confidence and quell her worries.
Cindy has always been drawn to helping children and first worked with children at church. During college she served as a camp counselor assisting youth with disabilities. Cindy also experienced firsthand the benefit of a strong mentor in her youth, a piano teacher who became an additional caring adult in her life. Before and after lessons, Cindy and her mentor developed a close friendship, chatting about school and boys. The connection provided an exemplary mentor model for Cindy.
When Macey transitioned from elementary to middle school, she worried about the change, so Cindy intentionally visited Macey her second day at Mickle to support her in navigating the challenge. “We practiced opening her locker, ate lunch together, and I encouraged her.” After a few weeks, Macey felt at ease in her new environment. “I’ve watched Macey become more outgoing and confident as she embraced middle school,” says Cindy. Just this year Macey joined the volleyball team.
Macey admits that at first she wasn’t sure why Cindy came to see her weekly, but as the two got to know one another, it became clearer. “She is there for me to talk to. She’s so caring and nice. I enjoy meeting with her.”
Both Cindy and Macey anticipate their weekly meetings. “We care about one another,” Cindy says. “Macey is the best hour of my week.”
Macey loves crafts, and although Cindy isn’t gifted in this realm, she has supported Macey in selecting craft projects from Pinterest, making supply lists and time lines in order to make gifts for family and friends for the holidays. “We’ve had some good laughs over our messes,” Cindy says. “Remember the string tree on the wax paper?”
Now an eighth-grader, Macey is thinking about her future. She hopes to work with children, following her mother, sister, and mentor’s paths. Her mother ran an in-home daycare, and Macey enjoyed coming home from school to assist with caring for the children. She is thinking of following her sister’s footsteps to The Career Academy to pursue Early Childhood Education.
Cindy and Macey’s relationship has evolved into a true friendship. They care about what’s happening to the other, and their conversations have deepened over the years. “I know she’s talented. I encourage her to be courageous and take more risks, then good things happen,” says Cindy.
“I’ll still do fun things with her in the future,” says Macey nodding toward Cindy. “We will go to lunch and talk.”
The authentic relationship between Macey and Cindy guarantee there will be many, many more conversations and meetings in the weeks, months, and years to come.