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A five-year mentor shares her PALS experience

Grace shares some reflections about her experience as a PALS Mentor:

Grace with mentees, all ninth grade students who she began mentoring in 4th grade.

I first became involved with PALS the summer before my Junior year of High School. My older sister who had worked at PALS a few years before highly recommended it for my summer break. After learning more about YLF’s approach, I realized it was a perfect fit and immediately applied to be a mentor.

Now that I have been a part of PALS for several years, I look forward to seeing many of the same students return every summer. I also love to see them grow into young women of character, which is most prevalent in the first days of the program when they help all the new students assimilate to the routine.

One of the most important things about being a mentor is developing a level of trust and meeting these students at their level. Sometimes this happens very naturally and other times it takes a lot of work and discussion from other mentors to develop better techniques in reaching these girls.

My favorite example was a time a student and I spent an afternoon listening to classical music on a whim. Prior to this event she appeared to merely be going through the motions of the day to day tasks that PALS would require from her. However, once she was introduced to these beautiful compositions her whole demeanor towards academics changed nearly instantly. Zeal was the only way to describe her new outlook and she began to demand more and more details about each piece of work. After that day she would come and ask me for more suggestions to listen to over the weekend and would return with commentary and suggestions for me as well.

Imagine this happening in several different ways with multiple young girls and you can see why I look forward to spending my summers at PALS. I also love the emphasis on character throughout the program and the determination the staff and mentors have in ensuring each child receives personal one-on-one attention.

I honestly do not know of any other programs like PALS in D.C.

Lastly, I get excited thinking about each child’s potential. These children are determined to do great things and I am blessed to be a part of the process in guiding them toward fulfilling their dreams. I cannot wait to see these young girls grow into young women of character in a matter of a few short years.

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