Mentor Todd Peterson with Jose
“I’m really surprised at the impact that Jose and his family have had on me,” said Todd Peterson, a Casa Chirilagua mentor. It was a year ago that Peterson attended an Alexandria Mentoring Partnership information session and considered whether or not to become a mentor with Casa Chirilagua. His initial thoughts were simply that, “Volunteering would be a few hours commitment per week.” What he found was something much deeper: “I realized that it is so much more than just hours volunteering, it is very emotional where I am thinking about them as I would family.”
Jose’s mother Marta agrees, “He is like another friend.”
At the core of any Casa Chirilagua mentoring match is one relationship changing two lives. It stretches and grows both individuals, transforming and equipping both the mentor and student for their lifetime ahead.
“I’m very thankful for Jose’s mentor because he’s helped Jose solidify good reading habits. Jose’s behavior has improved a lot and Todd has taught him good principles and habits,” says Marta. “[The mentors] take it upon themselves to go beyond simple conversation going deeper into an issue to find out what is going on when a child is doing well or not in their academics.”
Jose is filled with excitement when he talks about Todd, “Something that my mentor taught me was division and multiplication. First he helped me with multiplication, because that’s how you start, and then the division.” Jose knows that he is very blessed to have a mentor, “I like that he takes me to a lot of places. The day I met him, I felt excited because I never had a mentor.”
Mentoring starts with a commitment of just one hour per week for a year. However, mentors like Todd find that it extends much deeper into the future as relationships are forged: “I would definitely recommend mentoring if you are considering it,” says Todd. “It has such a huge positive affect on your life and those you spend time with.”
If interested in learning more about Casa Chirilagua’s mentoring program, visit http://casachirilagua.org/mentoring. Casa Chirilagua is a member of the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership (AMP). AMP was created in 2006 to ensure that quality mentors and mentor programs are available for Alexandria's youth and young adults in need. January is National Mentoring Month and AMP program members are hosting various activities this month. To learn more about AMP and the activities taking place in January, visit: http://www.alexandriava.gov/Mentoring.