Julie and Mileena

July 2020 TeamMates of the Month: Crafts, Card Games, and Conversation

“We make huge messes!” laughs Mileena, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Lux Middle School.

“We have been known to make a mess or two,” her TeamMates mentor, Julie, confirms. “But we do always clean up after ourselves!”

Creating slime, one of their favorite activities to do together, can get messy as they try out different concoctions. They’ve added glitter and experimented with color-changing and glow-in-the dark ingredients. The pair recalled how one mixture resulted in Mileena’s hand being stained blue for days. They have been making slime and funny memories since Mileena was in elementary school. A big fan of arts and crafts, slime bridges a gap between crafting and science, one of her not-so-favorite subjects.

“I like it because we not only get to talk while we do it, but we also get to do different things together. We also have different ideas about how to approach things when we do crafts,” explains Mileena.

Julie and Mileena also enjoy playing and teaching each other different games– Square Up, hangman, and cribbage to name a few. Mileena likes to introduce Julie to games her family plays at home. However, Julie taught her a card game called Phase 10, and Mileena quickly became the reigning champion. “I didn’t even know how to play before. Then, the first round I beat her, and she hasn’t been able to beat me,” she beams.

“Apparently I taught her too well!” Julie laughs.

Once a shy third-grader, Mileena has become more talkative and open with her TeamMate. While the different activities they do are fun, they also help facilitate great dialogue. “I think the conversation flows much more naturally if we are doing something fun and just having a conversation while we’re doing it,” says Julie.

Mileena admits she was a bit shy when they first met in 2016, but getting to know Julie better week after week has allowed her to become more talkative. “Now I’m really open to talking, and she’s open to me too which is nice,” Mileena shares.

Julie is glad they can be “silly and weird” together and thinks her self-proclaimed weirdness adds to their dynamic because Mileena knows she can say anything without judgment.

“She’s there for me always, and I’ve also gained being able to be more open at school,” says Mileena.

Julie recognizes how Mileena has added to her life as well, cherished memories she shares regularly with her coworkers, hoping to encourage more to become mentors, too. “It’s fun for me to get to see her grow. I’m proud of her,” she affirms.

The two are excited to see each other in the upcoming school year. “I look forward to seeing her and getting to hear about what’s going on in her life and just seeing her overcome. She’s awesome,” says Julie.