January is National Mentor Month, and during the month we like to honor all of the different individuals who volunteer their time and energy to support our community’s youth and families. At FCNI, we have multiple volunteer roles, including mentor, tutor, career mentor and admin volunteer; and all of these roles directly help us achieve our mission, “to enhance the wellbeing of children, youth and families in partnership with our community.” Matt Hanley, a local attorney, is currently a Mentor with us. He wanted to share what his mentoring experience has been like and why he thinks others should get involved in mentoring local youth as well.
“Since I was young, I’ve had an interest in mentoring and becoming a mentor. I believe my very first experience with mentoring was when my Dad decided to become a mentor and I was able to witness the positive impact he had on a young person’s life at a young age. Later in my life while I was pursuing a career as an attorney, I was able to experience firsthand how beneficial having a mentor can be. Thankfully, mentoring is very common in the legal profession and I was also able to benefit greatly from my experience. In fact, I can’t say that I have had just one mentor in my life. Instead, I have been lucky enough to have several individuals whom I learned from and who in turn have made a lasting impact upon me.
“With how much mentoring has been a positive experience in my own life I've found it easy for me to recognize why I should get involved with a local youth. These experiences with mentorship have inspired me to give back my time to someone else in order to make a positive change in their life. I chose Family Care Network as the agency I wanted to mentor with because my wife works in the mental health field herself so I was already familiar with the great work that they do in the community.
“As a current mentor, I look to model positive behavior when I’m spending time with my mentee but being a mentor is so much more than that. To me a mentor is a reliable role model who is also a friend and that is what I try to provide for my mentee. I’m happy to report that our relationship has been going well and we have been having a good time getting to know one another. Just recently, my mentee and I looked into the history of the Great Emu War in Australia and its unlikely outcome. We laughed for quite a while trying to think how it could have ended any differently! I'm very excited to keep spending time with my mentee, and I can't wait to see how our relationship develops and grows from here.”
If you or anyone you know has been considering becoming a mentor, I would absolutely encourage you to reach out to the great people at the Family Care Network to see how you too can give back to those most in need of support in our community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-503-6223 and ask how you get started on becoming a mentor today!