November 2020 TeamMates of the Month: Bonding Over Bananagrams
Angelie admits the idea of leaving class to go play games was pretty appealing to the then-middle schooler on the waitlist for a TeamMate. Now a Southeast High School senior, she realizes the bond she shares with her mentor, Dawn, has been just as transformative as it has been fun.
“Dawn has changed my life a lot and for the better. Getting to know her has been a really great opportunity,” says Angelie. “I wish it was more than once a week,” she laughs.
Dawn’s approach to mentoring is based on noncritical support. “When Angelie first started telling me something, as the adult I would tell her, ‘Well that doesn’t seem like the best idea,’ but I don’t think I judged. I would listen and give her a little feedback but not in a judgey way,” explains Dawn.
While the pair have meaningful conversations, they equally enjoy crafting and playing games like Bananagrams. Angelie describes Dawn’s “bag of goodies” she brings to their visits, full of endless fun activities.
“She definitely brought up my spirits and really made me feel comfortable,” Angelie says. “I was able to talk to her about the challenges I had overcome and challenges I was going through.” Challenges such as Angelie’s family moving to the United States from Guyana in the middle of her sixth grade school year, gaining confidence tackling daunting class presentations, and coping with the loss of a grandparent.
Angelie describes how Dawn’s guidance has helped her deal with complicated situations by considering pros and cons Dawn helps her identify. “My thinking process has changed a lot,” she says.
“She has matured so much!” beams Dawn. “The conversations have morphed into adult things, thinking about what we are going to do after high school and preparing for that.”
After graduating next spring, Angelie plans to pursue a medical career by first earning CNA certification, and she looks forward to going out for brunch with her mentor Dawn to celebrate.