Whether it’s community-based, site-based or Mentor2.0, we love hearing about the stories of growth and achievement that come from our mentoring programs! Out of all the volunteer opportunities in Utah, nothing is as fulfilling as helping children see their potential. One of these stories comes from the soon-to-be 3rd grader, Marilyn, and her “Big sister” Emmy, a high school student.

Marilyn’s Story

Marilyn lives in a three-bedroom apartment with her mom, brother, two cousins and Aunt in Park City. While she has been in school for a few years now, English is her second language, and she is in a dual-immersion program (half English and half Spanish). Learning English has been challenging, but she hasn’t backed down from doing what she can to get her homework done. Since September of last year, Marilyn has been meeting Emmy, and for a while, all they would do is finish Marilyn’s homework together.

Matching with Emmy

This particular match falls under our site-based program, meaning that the two meet for an hour at Marilyn’s school once a week throughout the school year. Both Marilyn and Emmy are shy individuals, but little by little, the two have been able to open up! Towards the end of the school year, instead of strictly focusing on homework for the entire hour, the two have found a balance between homework and play. As is expected with our site-based program, Marilyn and Emmy started to complete school work during the first 15 minutes and then proceed to participate in fun activities together like coloring and playing hide-and-seek!

Spreading Wings

Now, after school is let out at the end of the day, Marilyn often asks, “Hey, is my Big sister here? What’s going on?” The significance in this is that Emmy’s soft and kind presence is making a difference in Marilyn’s life. Most volunteer opportunities in Utah are impactful, but not many get to see the transformation of a little girl. As Marilyn’s English improves and her relationship with Emmy strengthens, she is starting to interact with others more. At first, Marilyn wouldn’t talk much; when she would answer a question, she’d give the shortest response possible. A year later, she is opening up not only to Emmy but others. Over time, she has started to pick up some new friends!

Finding volunteer opportunities in Utah that help kids with things like overcoming a fear of talking with others is rare, but our mentoring program is made for this. Our site-based mentoring program grants high school students the ability to spend meaningful time with kids, which, in turn, encourages them to spread their wings. This growth is exactly what Emmy has helped Marilyn with, but it hasn’t been through anything more than spending quality time together.

Our mentoring matches are not made at random; this is a volunteer opportunity in Utah that takes individuals’ backgrounds into account. For any responsible teenager or adult looking for a life-changing volunteer opportunity in Utah, start defending kids’ potential by becoming a Big (mentor), today!