September 2016 TeamMates of the Month: Key Examples of Individuals Exceeding Expectations
Jan Dill and Bevan have been matched since Bevan was in 3rd grade. She will be in 10th grade in the fall of 2016. Jan said she learned about the TeamMates program from a couple of different sources. Her employer, Allstate, has an active group of TeamMates volunteers. Her church, Sheridan Lutheran, also advocates mentoring with TeamMates. In fact her first match, which lasted for 2 years, was a young man from a school with which her church had formed a partnership to support successful outcomes for students there.
Bevan said she first learned about the program when she found out she had been nominated to be matched with a TeamMates mentor. She was excited about getting a new friend. She said she didn’t have a lot of friends when she was in elementary school. Being a part of TeamMates has helped her become more comfortable meeting and talking with new people. “I think I came out of my shell. It has also helped with my communication skills.”
Jan said being a part of TeamMates had helped her to “be more comfortable with being herself.”
She was motivated to volunteer because she was looking for a way to help youth. There are several options available. She had done some volunteering in group settings and she liked the idea of really being able to get to know someone and the one-on-one relationship building opportunity TeamMates presents. “I was a little worried that it was going to be a ‘tutoring’ thing and I was afraid of that; but, then I was reassured by the TeamMates organization that I don’t have to be a tutor. I can just be a friend and a mentor.”
During their weekly meetings they chat while playing cards — UNO is a favorite and they both admitted to being “a little competitive.”
“She’s pretty good at UNO,” Jan said. “We have some pretty intensive matches sometimes, and we get some pretty good laughs out of that.”
They have shared a couple of popular book series books and over the years they have also enjoyed drawing and coloring. With the advent of the new adult coloring books that are now available, they have resumed the activity.
Primarily, they both have treasured the growth and advancement of Bevan’s music.
Bevan began singing while in elementary school. Her love of music impelled her to move forward in all aspects of her life. “When I was a little girl and saw people on TV singing, I decided that I am going to learn how to sing. I just started singing. I really liked what came out of my mouth.”
She decided to also apply that decisiveness to her life. When in elementary school, she had some “rough” times. “The only thing that really kept me going was music. I loved music so much. I loved performing in concerts. I joined the chorus at our school.”
Through middle school she had voice lessons, learned the guitar and wrote her own music. In high school she became involved in the school’s music program. “I fell in love with it, completely. It is possibly the best choir program in the state. We’re all one big family…we all fit in…we all have fun.”
Jan said some of her most cherished memories of their meeting times are of Bevan performing something that she has been practicing. Also, Jan has enjoyed attending many of Bevan’s music performances. “Bevan uses her music to make other people happy. Bevan was in Annie. I made her sign my program, because she is going to be famous someday.”
The program will go into the scrapbook that Jan and Bevan have compiled from their years of meeting. The scrapbook contains other programs, photos, examples of projects and activities they both have enjoyed. Jan also proudly shared that Bevan had chosen her to be the subject of her 6th grade (school writing project) book.
In addition to compiling a scrapbook, Jan and Bevan recommend a game “Do You Know Me?” The game features pulling out stick that contains thought provoking questions. Each person starts out guessing what the other person will answer.
Just as music has been “the answer” for Bevan in the past, it will be the driving force of her future. She plans to study music in college, get a job and start a band that she hopes will lead to working with recording companies.