July 2022 TeamMates of the Month: Connection Points
Mark L’Heureux is the principal of Christ Lincoln Elementary School, but when he walks into Prescott Elementary, he is Chris’s TeamMate.
Kathy L’Heureux, the School Counselor at Prescott, encouraged her husband to become a TeamMates mentor due to his positive outlook and the encouragement he provides daily at his own school. As the Prescott TeamMates Facilitator, and Mark’s partner, she was able to hand-select a great match: a third grader named Chris who enjoys soccer, art, games, and nature.
“Mrs. L’Hereux said I would have a TeamMate soon but didn’t say who it was,” said Chris, “Then after a week she told me who it was, and it was Mr. L’Heureux!”
Over two years into their match, Mr. L’Heureux says it’s been nice to be a fun adult in a student’s life, rather than an authority figure. He appreciates the unique relationship that mentoring through TeamMates provides, unlike other roles within a school.
“Chris and I have an opportunity to dig deeper whereas a coach or teacher with 15 on a team or 25 in a classroom, you don’t necessarily have that one-to-one connection. This provides that opportunity to connect deeper.”
“After we visit, I have a more positive day and I’m a lot less stressed,” said Chris. “If something happened earlier before I meet with him, our visit just calms me down.”
Chris enjoys the opportunity to take a break from classes to have fun doing puzzles or playing games like Phase10. The pair admits they’re both competitive, but never cheat or bend rules to win. “One thing I love about Chris is that he’s so honest and trustworthy.”
“There have even been times where I think Chris has felt sorry for me because I haven’t won in a while, so I think he’s like ‘Okay, I need to let Mr. L’Heureux win every now and then,’” he laughs.
Chris and Mr. L’Heureux also like to venture outside, where the Prescott courtyard is currently home to a brood of ducklings. “He teaches me a lot of things, school things and also nature things,” said Chris.
A tree towers over a picnic table. “He taught me about this buckeye tree and its seeds,” said Chris.
Chris can be a little quiet at times, so hands-on activities and exploring outdoors have been “connection points,” for them, said Mr. L’Heureux. He encourages new mentors to “keep trying things if you’re not able to make that connection right away.”
“There’s something within every young person that they can connect with. When kids feel they are in a safe place, they’re able to release and make that stronger connection with a mentor.”
“I hope every student has the chance to experience growth and that mentors to be able to see that growth happen within their mentee,” said Mr. L’Heureux, “but it’s something I’ve witnessed and I look forward to what it entails into the future.”