Tracy and Anna

January 2024 TeamMates of the Month: Giving and Gaining

A student may discover TeamMates when someone nominates them to be matched with a mentor.

“I was having a hard time with a situation my sister was going through,” says Anna, “and my counselor recommended TeamMates. I decided to give it a try.”

Ready to answer that call for a mentor was Tracy, a former teacher at the high school Anna now attends. Now in their third year, they met in middle school. 

It was when they started work on a puzzle that Tracy felt their relationship deepen. 

“The puzzle was a good distractor, a good way to feel more comfortable.”

The chance to meet regularly with an adult who cares, matters to Anna. 

“The only other adult I can really have a conversation with is my mom. But, nobody else will come and talk to me like I do with Tracy.”

Tracy knows their relationship is a two-way street. She learns from Anna, who she describes as optimistic and adventurous. 

“Nothing ever seems to get her down. She might say, ‘this is happening, and it’s less than ideal,’ but she’s okay. When she went from middle school to high school, she wanted to explore!”

Anna credits Tracy with providing needed kindling for her adventurous spirit.

“If I need help, Tracy’s there. She gives me good advice for homework, questions about anything, even things at home. She always knows what to say.”

Tracy isn’t expecting to hear how Anna relies on her.

“Wow. That’s a lot. I didn’t know that.”

Anna has learned from Tracy not to give up.

“A lot of the things I would try, and think ‘well I don’t think I can because…’ And Tracy would say, ‘there’s a, b, c, and d you can also try.’ And I would try them and sometimes I would still fail but most of the time, those other ideas worked.”

As many matches do, the pair has discovered unexpected things they have in common. When Anna decided to go out for cross country, she learned that Tracy had too. When Tracy talked about holiday decorating, she discovered that Anna loves decorating and has a little Christmas tree in her bedroom, just as Tracy did growing up.

Tracy knows what she would tell another adult thinking about becoming a TeamMate.

“If you’re looking for a way to make a difference one hour a week and benefit yourself, TeamMates is it. I want to be there for someone else because I was given that gift.”