Joyce and Alexis

February 2020 TeamMates of the Month: Sunshine and Fun

Alexis is the first to say that there were some adjustments to be made between elementary school and middle school. Now a sixth grader at Lefler Middle School, the one thing that is unchanged is Alexis’s weekly meeting with her TeamMates mentor, Joyce.

“Things change in middle school, I think, in terms of friend relationships,” Joyce said. “There’s a lot of the same things that go on when I was in middle school 50 years ago, but there’s a lot of new and different complications that go with being a kid today. We do a lot more talking than we did in the beginning.”

Alexis was a third-grader at Randolph Elementary School when she first met Joyce, nervous and unsure of what to expect. But that changed quickly. “We made a bond,” Alexis said confidently. “I call Joyce my grandma because we’re that close…[she’s] someone you can play games with and learn from.”

As a middle schooler Alexis has set new goals for herself, and Joyce is her cheerleader. “She’s working really, really hard to get straight A’s,” Joyce said. “I encourage her and tell her not to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen right away, because it takes a lot of adjustment when you go from elementary school to middle school.”

“She asks a lot of questions so she knows how I’m doing, so that helps a lot,” Alexis said of Joyce. “It’s like she’s always by my side….”

But it’s not all seriousness for Joyce and Alexis.

“Sometimes, she’ll wear some funky shoes or a necklace or funny socks,” Alexis said with a grin. Joyce laughed and admitted to purposely wearing something goofy to amuse Alexis. Because of this, Alexis picked the “F.U.N.” song from SpongeBob SquarePants as the song to describe their TeamMates match. For Joyce, it’s “You Are My Sunshine.”

“She comes in with that big ole smile,” Joyce said. “I just never see her down. Our personalities mix and we have a good time together supporting each other.” Alexis agreed. “When I meet with her, I’m excited until I see her again.”

Although TeamMates requests a three-year commitment, Alexis and Joyce are sure they will continue meeting through middle school, high school, and beyond. For more information about TeamMates, visit