I had the unique privilege of being a mentor recently.
I didn’t really know what I was signing up for when the process began. A meeting in one of our church’s children’s classrooms. The meeting was just informational, but after that meeting I committed.
Let me start a bit further back than that.
Jobs for Life, the organization that was recruiting the mentors from our church, started when years ago a pastor of a different church needed a parking lot paved. He contacted a company he knew of and together that employee and that pastor partnered together. One providing jobs, the other providing the people needed for the jobs, people needing somewhere to work. Now it is a network of churches, ministries, and businesses in cities all over the world training out of work men and women for work and transforming people’s lives. You can get the full story and more info here.
Back to last summer
I really didn’t know what to expect the very first meeting, and was kind of out of my element. Good thing this one, like most “first meetings,” are a get to know you and here’s what you can expect over the course of this class. Over the next 8 weeks, students in the Jobs for Life class would be learning things that would help them get and keep a job; but not JUST a job, but something that could be a career and something they love. The mentors, called champions, would be there for a specific student or two providing support, encouragement, and counsel, and being a personal helper for the students going through the class; someone to help the students succeed.
We met for class twice a week, midday. We talked about backgrounds, roadblocks to getting a job, career interests, how to interview, how to dress, and stature. We did mock interviews, and had actual HR reps come talk to us. The class started out with 12 students and 10 of them “graduated!”
What these students learned was more than how to get and keep a job or a career that they like, but how to treat employers and coworkers alike, how to present oneself with poise and dignity. They learned that they are not trash or society’s throw a way’s just because of their current situation. They learned that there is someone who cares deeply for them that wasn’t there 8 weeks prior.
My student could have been me, given different circumstances for either of us. We’re both mother’s, both of us had been out of the work force (for the most part) for quite a number of years. We both have experience schooling our kiddos at home. I know she learned a lot through the class. But me? Through this woman, I learned about life, how really good mine actually is. I learned that I could come out of my shell, and possibly use some of the information given in the class. I gained a friend. I gained someone I care about and converse with still on occasion. I learned that I have a lot of compassion and a lot of information to give, even though I don’t have but two very seasonal jobs myself.
I’ll be back for the next 8 weeks of classes! I’ll impart what I know. I’m sure I’ll learn more than I would have thought when I signed up for this.