TK and Shari

February 2021 TeamMates of the Month: Trust With All Your Heart

Shari and TK crochet pre-pandemic.

“My husband was a teacher and he would talk about kids who could just use somebody to be their person,” recalls Shari. “I just listened to his stories and thought, ‘I could do that, I could be somebody’s person.’”

After Tom Osborne gave a presentation on TeamMates at Southwood Lutheran Church, Shari knew she wanted to become a mentor. She later spoke with her boss who encouraged her to volunteer, and within the same day, Shari had signed up for her mentor training.

Shortly after, she was matched with TK, a third grader at Saratoga Elementary. Now a sophomore at Lincoln High, TK recalls instant comfort around her new friend. “There hasn’t been a day I didn’t trust her because she’s a very truthful person. I felt like I could trust her right away.”

The pair started off simply talking to get to know each other, then began doing activities like making bracelets and playing cards. Shari introduced her to crocheting, a skill at which TK quickly thrived. “I just started her with the chain stitch and double crochet, but she took off way above what I could do,” says Shari with pride.

TK says one of her favorite memories with Shari is making blankets. She has one hanging on her bedroom wall, along with photos with “Miss Shari.”

TK and Shari laugh recalling a scarf project that went haywire. “It looked like a road map through the mountains,” jokes Shari. “When you’re talking and crocheting you sometimes don’t count your stitches.”

Conversation is the foundation of this match’s friendship. “She basically knows everything about me,” says TK, calling Shari her cheerleader. TK thanks Shari for helping her think through decisions and identify steps to reach her goals. TK plans to study in Korea after high school and attend medical school to become an OBGYN, a dream she’s had since elementary school. “You are a smart cookie,” Shari tells her. “You’re remarkable aren’t you, TK?” the proud mentor affirms with a smile.

“She just makes my heart sing,” beams Shari. “She is so kind and loving. It’s a surprise to me that a 16-year-old wouldn’t think I was just an old great-grandmother from the dark ages.”

TK has enjoyed her years in TeamMates, stating, “Over time [a mentor] becomes family to you because once you get to know them, they’re a person you can trust with all your heart, and that’s what I can truly say.”

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