Caylie and Sam

September 2020 TeamMates of the Month: A Creative Connection

Caylie and Sam love to create. Caylie enjoys animation and drawing characters she invents. Sam owns a photography business and sketches for fun. Yet their longstanding creation is the bond they have formed through TeamMates over the last eight years. Caylie was a fourth-grader at Kooser Elementary when she was paired with her mentor Sam, and is now beginning her senior year at North Star.

“It’s kind of unbelievable and really cool at the same time how this little commitment of one visit a week over a long period of time can have such a difference on both of our lives. It’s been really cool to see,” reflects Sam. “It’s just been so rewarding in so many ways.”

Caylie showed talent in art at an early age, but was having trouble focusing at school when she was nominated for TeamMates. “My mom and my teachers noticed that I got really stressed in class and thought if I had a TeamMate I’d be able to talk with someone and take a break from class,” explains Caylie. “And she helped me with that; she helped me feel less stress. It’s just really nice to talk to someone about my day.”

You’ll typically find the pair drawing while chatting away about life during their visits. Once, Sam brought a camera to school to introduce Caylie to another art form. Around Halloween, they have a tradition of painting pumpkins and eating cupcakes. Occasionally, they work on an art project together, depending on what Caylie prefers to do that day. Sam enjoys letting Caylie guide their visits. “From an early age I kind of let Caylie lead what we were doing in a sense and use the time for whatever she needed it to be.”

Having someone so understanding to talk to about anything has been Caylie’s favorite part of being a TeamMate. Soon they will explore options for the young artist’s post-secondary education and possible career paths. “I’d like to be a character designer, animator, or maybe graphic designer,” says Caylie. Sam has loved watching Caylie’s artistic growth. “I’m shocked that one person can be so talented. She will probably work for Disney one day.”

“Sam’s so nice,” says Caylie, humbled. “Sometimes I’m like ‘I don’t deserve these compliments!’”

“Oh, you hush,” laughs Sam. “Yes, you do!”