June 2018 TeamMates of the Month: Committed and Consistent
Hannah Gaebel has been meeting her mentee, Trinity, since she was a fourth grader at Fredstrom Elementary in Northwest Lincoln. Six years later, Trinity is now a sophomore at Southeast High School, preparing to be an upperclassman and for the future milestones to come. They are close and care for one another but their journey is not without its road bumps.
There was a time when the two of them thought they might have to close their match. Two years ago, a new job took Hannah from Lincoln to Kearney, Nebraska. Staying matched did not seem possible but they did not want to end their mentoring relationship. The solution?
“We switched to every two weeks,” Trinity explains.
Twice a month Hannah makes the two hour drive from Kearney to Lincoln to meet with Trinity at Southeast. It is not the same as meeting on a weekly basis, but they are thrilled that they did have to close their match.
“A lot can happen in two weeks,” Trinity says. Between school, family, and friends there is a never a shortage of things to talk about. Their favorite topic of discussion is animals. Trinity wants to be a veterinarian someday.
“I want to work with all types of animals,” Trinity says. To encourage her love of animals, Trinity’s mother signed her up with Wildlife Rescue, the Lincoln-based non-profit that helps injured, orphaned, and abandoned wildlife. “Sometimes, if the parents get killed, we have to take care of the babies. It’s so fun to take care of them and feed them and watch them grow,” Trinity says.
“Didn’t you get an award once, too?” Hannah asks, knowing the answer, obviously proud of her mentee.
“I did,” Trinity says shyly. “We had over 120 baby opossums staying with us at our house and I was taking care of all of them. Over a hundred birds, too.”
Taking care of that many animals takes a commitment that few adults are willing to make. Trinity is obviously a committed person, a trait she and Hannah share. It takes time to build a relationship, requiring commitment and consistency. Hannah and Trinity are clearly committed to each other and that commitment has given their mentor-mentee relationship a solid foundation.
“I think the consistency of always meeting together helped us to build trust in the beginning,” Hannah says.
Not every day is sunshine and daisies, but they both trust each other enough to know that one off day is not going to derail the relationship they have built.
“Sometimes when we meet maybe we’re both a little down in the dumps,” says Hannah, “but by the end, we’re happy and smiling.”