In 2011, Community Lodgings decided to set up two mentor groups for the teens participating in the After-School program. Christine and Roxana are one of our pairs that have been with the organization for several years. Roxana is an 11th grader from T.C. Williams High School and has been in the after-school program since she was in middle school. Christine is a German-American professional that has been volunteering with the organization since 2012, first as a homework tutor and eventually joining our mentor group.
From the Mentee - Roxana
I remember when the mentoring program first started. I really enjoyed going every Monday night to hang out with the mentors and the girls, but when Ms. Christine came into the mentoring group I felt as if we connected. She had such a great sense of humor and an awesome personality.
When Ms. Christine first offered to teach me how to drive, I was excited, and felt very fortunate to have someone like Ms. Christine to take time out of her day to teach me how to drive. The first day I could tell she was a bit nervous, as was I, but I didn't want us both being nervous so I was very careful driving and parking her car. After a while I felt very comfortable driving her car and enjoyed every minute of it.
I always felt very encouraged by Ms. Christine because she would never yell or get worked up when I would do something wrong. For example, one time I was turning into a corner and drove over the corner onto the sidewalk. She remained optimistic about everything. She would even let me decide where to park and I would take forever deciding which parking space was best, but she never rushed me. I am truly thankful for everything Ms. Christine has done for me. She is a wonderful mentor and I have enjoyed the time I have spent with her in the mentoring program.
From the mentor: Christine
I started with Community Lodgings in 2012 as a tutor and then as a mentor in the Girls Mentoring Program. We usually meet once a week as a group, but last summer we decided to try a one-on-one format while the girls are out of school. Roxana had just gotten her learner's permit, so I thought we could drive together and help her gain more experience. I must admit that I was nervous the first time I picked her up and moved from the driver's seat to all of a sudden become Roxana's passenger!
The mentor program is as much about trust as it is about learning, but we had never put that to the test. Roxana quickly put me at ease by being careful and attentive, and after few trips and numerous rounds in large parking lots we ventured out into the real world of beltway driving! One night she drove us south on Route 1, and on the return we decided to brave the complicated ramps that will get you heading west on the beltway. I was giving Roxana directions and asked her if she was ready … when she very calmly responded "the real question, Miss Christine, is … are YOU ready?" and then turned onto the interstate like a pro! I was so proud of her and know that there's nothing this young lady can't accomplish.
Community Lodgings is a member of the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership. The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership was created in 2006 to ensure that quality mentors and mentor programs are available for Alexandria's youth and young adults in need. There are 11 professionally managed programs in the partnership that need adult mentors. To learn more about AMP, visit: http://www.alexandriava.gov/Mentoring.