Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Mentoring–Interview with My Mentee and I

on January 9, 2012

One of the things I do when I am not writing is I am a mentor, and today, my mentee and I are on the Musa blog!

You can find the interview here!

Why did I become a mentor? A few years ago, when I was writing my upcoming book, WEAVING MAGIC, I had to do some research about children who have a parent in prison. This wasn’t a new topic for me. Many of the teens I work with in the juvenile detention writing workshop also have a parent who is in jail. But, what I didn’t know was there are mentor programs designed specifically for youth who have an incarcerated parent. The one I found is the Western Washington Volunteers of America Children of Promise Program. The program is very similiar to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

At the time, I’d been running the poetry workshop with teens in detention for a few years, but I kept feeling like I wanted to do something to help kids BEFORE they got to juvenile detention. A good friend of mine was a Big Sister for years and years, and another one was a Match Supervisor at Big Brothers and Big Sisters, so I knew a lot about the ins and outs of mentoring. The problem was I didn’t know if I was ready to commit to mentoring. It seemed like a big committment. But something was still tugging at me to do it. So, I printed the Volunteers of America application and  set it on my desk. It sat there for over a year before I felt like I was ready to commit.

My mentee and I have been matched one year this month! We do all kinds of fun things together. We’ve been to the Seattle Aquarium, rollar skated, bowled, swam, hiked, and biked. We’ve baked and decorated a cake, made Christmas cookies, and created Christmas cards. We’ve carved pumpkins, gone to movies, and seen a Draft Horse Show at the State Fair. She helped me hang Christmas lights, helped me with raking the leaves and we planted flowers in my garden last spring. During Christmas, we took a class at the Schack Art Center in Everett and made glass ornament balls.

My favorite thing we did together was go to pick up my puppy, Stormy.  Stormy’s breeder was an hour away, and my mentee had an overnight with a friend the night before. On the way home, I looked in the mirror, and both my mentee and my new puppy were fast asleep! Later, Stormy threw up on my mentee because he didn’t like his first car ride so much!The funny thing is that my mentee later told me, “I didn’t like the car ride. It was too long!”

I get to learn a lot from my mentee. She loves horses and takes lessons about twice a month.  I’ve even attended one of her horse shows. At Christmas, she invited a friend to help us with cookie decorating. Usually, neither she nor I are allowed to bring a friend along, but we made an exception for cookie decorating.  I had a good chuckle watching my mentee show her friend around my house and talk about all the things we’ve done. My favorite moment was when she pointed to the glass ornament Christmas ball hanging from my window, and said, “We made those together.”

Glass Ornament Class at the Schack Art Center

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