June 2021 TeamMates of the Month: Share and Self-Reflect
Josie, an eighth grader at Irving this past year, shows off her wrist, adorned with a stack of colorful friendship bracelets. “These are all ones we’ve made together,” she explains. She points out a black and white striped one that contrasts beside the bright string knots of the others. “This is very new, as of last week. She taught me how to make those.”
You can’t see behind her mask, but you can tell from her kind eyes that Josie’s mentor Kristi is smiling back at her. Josie hasn’t seen Kristi’s unmasked smile much during the pandemic, the smile that Josie says makes her easy to confide in. “She has a very caring face if that makes sense. You look at her and you’re not scared.” Along with Kristi’s open mind and superb listening skills, Josie says she could not have been matched with a better person when they first met back at Beattie Elementary.
Because Kristi missed the connection with youth that she cherished in a 15-year position she held at the Lighthouse, she decided to become a TeamMate. “I’ve always felt that young people need positive adults and somebody who can come in and not judge, just listen,” she says. “That’s how I approached things, that I’m here to be here for you in any capacity that you need, whether it’s advice or just to talk to me for a little bit and play some games.”
Josie appreciates the value in having an additional caring adult in her life. “I have somebody there to talk to that’s not a friend from school, not a teacher or parent, it’s just somebody neutral,” she describes. “If I have something that I’m going through or that’s on my mind, I just think ‘at the end of the week I’ll see Kristi and I’ll tell her about it.’”
“Josie does most of the talking,” Kristi jokes, making them both laugh. “I like to hear Josie talk. I really just listen. It’s her processing and talking. If she wants my advice, she will ask,” says Kristi. “She has always been open and willing to share and self-reflect…We just have a type of relationship that is really special, and so for me, it’s something I look forward to as well,” says Kristi.
While they cover many topics, “High school has been a big one we’ve talked about,” says Josie. She will transition to Southwest High School this fall, and Kristi, whose son currently attends there, has been able to provide helpful information about block scheduling and elective course options. Josie is most looking forward to taking a pottery class, joining the volleyball team, and continuing to meet with Kristi weekly.