School staff refer students to the In-School Mentoring program for a variety of reasons. In Jason’s case, it was in the hopes that he could form a friendship with someone that will help him to be calm. Jason has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and in the past year has been struggling with some mental health issues. Jason has been matched in the ISM program before, but this year has been like none other.
In October of 2017, Jason was matched a volunteer named Tim. From the moment Jason met Tim, it was obvious that this was a match made in Heaven. One of Jason’s first comments was “I always wanted a boy mentor!” And that was that. From day one, these two had an immediate connection. Tim quickly became someone that Jason was excited to see and proud to spend time with.
During each visit, Tim was intentional about asking Jason how his week was, if he had anything new going on, as well as any plans for the coming weekend. It took time for Jason to meaningfully answer these questions, but over a few months, these little check-ins grew into conversations that would naturally take place as they spent the first portion of their visit simply walking around the school catching up.
Fast-forward to March 2018, it felt like a transformation was starting to occur. Mrs. K, one of the school staff could not fully express how much this friendship thrilled her. She now sees Jason as a happier, more alert kid. On one of the days that Jason and Tim were scheduled to meet, Jason came bouncing into the school with his stuffed lizard on his head and said through a beaming smile “I can’t wait to show Tim my lizard!” Mrs. K then jokingly asked if they (the school) could “keep Tim forever” and have him continue on to the Big Brothers program with Jason. She explained how beautiful their friendship is and remarked on how patient and kind Tim is with Jason.
Tim also speaks highly of his time with Jason. He believes that Jason is receptive to things he asks or teaches, including the importance of listening, which they had talked about most recently. But, the most moving part overall? When Jason was asked what he likes most about being with his mentor, an uncontrollable grin spread across his face and quickly looked down to his hands, shrugged and said “Tim is a really nice guy and is really nice to me.”