CSU students give back through mentoring
Time is a precious commodity, especially for college students. How to budget time is not a course that’s taught at the university level, but it’s definitely something most college students admit to learning somewhere along the way during their college experience.
During the spring semester of 2018, eight students and one staff member decided to give some of their time to young students at Sedgefield Intermediate School. These are students in the 3rd, 4th and 5thgrades. Emmanuel Amon, who is the CSU volunteer coordinator for Americorps VISTA, brought the school and the students together. Amon found nine volunteers on campus who all seemed to possess different reasons for wanting to get involved.
Freshman Jessica Ketcham immediately connected with her 10-year-old mentee (both pictured on the left). They play at recess and engage in board games. Ketcham has two young sisters, 4 and 7, that she misses. She enjoys the positive influence she has as a mentor. Sometimes, all she does is eat lunch and listen to her new friend tell her about her day.
Logan Schuff, a junior, was looking for some way to give back. She eventually hopes to find a job in social services working with children. Her assigned mentee indicated that her home life might not be the most ideal, so Schuff has allowed the child to share her situation. “Sometimes, they just want somebody to listen,” says Schuff. “I’m glad I did it.”
Sedgefield Intermediate works with the CSU students and their schedules. They usually spend about one hour a week at the school. “It’s cool to see how happy the child is to see you,” smiles Ketcham.
Stephan Platt, who works in IT at CSU, is the first staff member to participate in the program. Because the young boy he was assigned to mentor was reluctant to engage, Platt decided to interact with the entire class until his new friend decided to warmup. Later, Platt learned that the young boy didn’t have a male figure in his life, creating a reluctance to immediately accept Platt. Eventually, Platt believes the two will connect, but he’ll let his new friend deal with it on his own timeframe. Platt understands how this little boy feels more than most. “My dad wasn’t around much when I was about this boy’s age. I get it.”
Meanwhile, Platt continues to enjoy lunch and recess with all of the students in this class. “The best part is seeing them smile.”
If this sounds like something you might want to pursue next semester, contact Emmanuel Amon at firstname.lastname@example.org.