August 2021 TeamMates of the Month: Curious and Caring
“Both of my parents are educators, so I grew up really believing in the importance of having someone that you could trust and talk to and was always there for you,” says Julie.
Her friend Lynne, a TeamMates staff member, encouraged Julie to mentor because she knew she would make a great listener and confidante. “She is trustworthy, nonjudgmental, fun, and creative,” said Lynne.
Julie’s TeamMate Madi agrees. Asked her favorite thing about Julie, she says, “Everything! She’s amazing and wonderful.”
The fondness is mutual.
“Madi is amazing and wonderful. She’s smart and she’s mature,” says Julie. “You have this wisdom about you that you don’t always see in a grown-up, let alone a seventh grader,” she tells her mentee.
The pair will begin their fifth school year together later this month. Originally matched at Roper Elementary, Madi and Julie now meet at Park Middle School, where they enjoy playing games and researching whatever strikes their curiosity.
After checking out the turtles in Roper’s courtyard, the pair learned more than they anticipated through their research afterward. “Remember how they breathe?” Julie asks, making them both giggle. (The answer: through their rear ends).
“We are both really curious, so we’ll start talking about something and by the time we get done we’re on a completely different thing. We start following these breadcrumbs and trails, and pretty soon she’ll have 15 windows open on her Chromebook,” says Julie.
Their curiosity has also helped them get to know one another and find their commonalities. Both inquisitive redheads who love caretaking children, the most specific mutual interest is their favorite food, mashed potatoes.
Madi acknowledges that TeamMates’ model of matching based upon common interests works. “They take their time to think about how people have similar things in common,” she says. “It’s easier for us to understand each other more.”
“I learn so much from her,” says Julie. “We’ve said that from the very beginning, that we learn a lot from each other.”