May 2017 TeamMates of the Month: Setting Goals to Help Others
After losing his father at the age of 6, Noah was looking for a positive role model in his life. He was matched with his mentor, Ken Majors, as a 6th grader at Dawes Middle School. “Without him I probably wouldn’t have become who I am,” recalls Noah. “I could’ve easily gone the opposite direction and become all about myself.”
Like many mentees at the beginning of a match, Noah was shy. “Whenever I met someone new, I kept to myself, so it took me a bit to get used to it. But after that first semester, I opened up pretty well.”
The very first activity Ken and Noah did together was create a book about his life. They worked on a little bit each week, adding pages about Noah’s family and his favorite classes, sports, movies, etc. “Oh yeah!” remembers Noah. “We’ll have to look at that at graduation, just to see how much it’s changed.”
Noah and Ken have shared countless fun times together. In the beginning, they liked playing ping pong and chess. They still enjoy playing Rummy and at one point, had a running score well over a hundred thousand points. Since their very first meeting, Ken has kept notes about what they talked about or did during their meetings. He refers to it as his ‘bible’ and enjoys reflecting on their time together. “It’s enlightening to see him grow. He has really blossomed. His personality has really grown and matured.”
Ken thinks goal-setting is a great way to start a mentoring relationship. “You find out what they would like to do, what they want to accomplish.”
Noah explains that Ken is always supportive and offers different ideas on how to achieve his goals. “If I can’t get it one way, step back, let’s try it another way. And, if that doesn’t work, let’s keep trying until we get it. Without him, I would’ve failed and moved on without actually growing.”
“He’s always been good about setting his goals and working towards that and trying to improve along the way,” adds Ken.
Noah intends to keep in touch with Ken and update him on his goals after he graduates in May. He plans on attending Morningside College in Sioux City, IA to study Business and minor in Statistics or Teaching. After graduating college, he’ll either go straight into the business world or teach business classes. Whatever career he ends up choosing, his main goal is to help others and give back—something learned from Ken’s example.
“Hearing about all the things he’s done just makes me want to continue and help further us and help people come together,” explains Noah. “I just want to be able to give back in my own way.”
“He’s always looking for ways to make it better for other people. Looking forward to helping other people is such a great asset,” remarks Ken.
Noah would like to become a TeamMates mentor one day because he knows how beneficial it is to students like himself. “It helps you have someone you can express yourself with, someone who will support you 100 percent. Helping a student be able to realize their potential is great.”
As a retired teacher, Ken has always enjoyed working with students and appreciates the unique opportunity TeamMates offers. “It’s very rewarding to be able to work with someone one-on-one, especially after being in a classroom situation of 30 students. Instead of just knowing a student for 1 or 2 semesters, a longer period of time has helped develop that relationship,” says Ken. “It’s been very rewarding.”