Felicia and Makayla

February 2019 TeamMates of the Month: From Slow to Go

Makayla is a high school senior with plans. On track to graduate this spring, she is currently building a sports car to race at Eagle Raceway this summer. Next fall, she’s off to Army boot camp. In preparation for that, she wakes at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym by 4:45. By 7:00 a.m., she is showered and ready for ROTC at Northeast High School. But her path wasn’t always as clear. In third grade, Makayla knew she needed support. When she saw a TeamMates poster in the hallway of her elementary school, she went to the office for information. Soon after, she was nominated to be a TeamMate.

In sixth grade, Makayla was matched with Felicia, who applied to become a TeamMates mentor because she knew that with a small investment of time each week, she could make a big impact. Over games of UNO, Guess Who, and Connect 4, Makayla slowly realized she could trust Felicia and began opening up her life to her mentor who consistently showed up weekly.

“Makayla reminded me of myself at that age,” Felicia says. It took some time for the relationship to form, but after trust was built, Makayla began sharing the joys and struggles of her life.

“Sometimes we talk seriously about personal issues, and other times we’re goofy and have fun,” says Makayla. “Our conversations make our relationship special.” 

Felicia marvels at the growth she’s witnessed in Makayla over their six-plus years in TeamMates. “She has become more confident in herself, she’s grown her personal voice, and worked to move toward her dreams.” Felicia believes that being privy to Makayla’s dreams and watching them become a reality is one of the greatest joys of being a mentor.

“I’ve learned the benefit and importance of sitting, listening, and giving someone your undivided attention,” she says. “Seeing the world from someone else’s perspective has helped me to grow.”

“It took me a while to trust her, “Makayla says, “but now I tell her everything. She listens and tells me it’s going to be okay.” From slow to go, these TeamMates have traveled far in their relationship and plan to stay in contact. “I will always be open to our friendship,” Felicia says.

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