Dave Spurling shared with EYN why mentoring matters from his perspective. He has been working with his mentee since 2021 and enjoys his engagement with his school and the world around him. Spurling said, “He’s figuring out his strengths and interests and where to go with them!”
As a mentor, he benefits because he loves being connected to our community and contributing to our well-being. And his mentee benefits from Spurling providing continuity to his life and encouraging him to think about his next steps. Spurling began mentoring right as COVID broke out and everyone had to figure out virtual public schooling.
His mentee had Spurling at his side to work through several challenges during that time, including moving from MSHS to Two Rivers. Spurling took action, engaging with school staff to understand what his mentee needed to do, then discussed it with him. Through the grows, there were glows too. His mentee got to see how he is supported by a larger team. Spurling saw him make friends and have a sense of belonging. He got to attend his mentee’s senior presentation and look into the plans he is making for the future. Now, Spurling is looking forward to his mentee’s plan to participate in an event at MIT in 2024!
Mentoring can have its challenges just like anything else in life, especially when mentees feel like they are failing. They look to their mentors for encouragement. Spurling explains that you have to be careful to let them work and grow through their challenges.
There are a number of ways he has helped his mentee get through obstacles. Operating as a coach, he first asked his mentee and school staff a lot of questions to understand what he needed to do as a mentor. “I asked a lot of questions about how he sees the world around him, and how he might want to engage with others as an adult,” Spurling said. He also offered his mentee feedback and support, especially when he was struggling.
Each January, we come together as a community to support youth with National Mentoring Month. By harnessing our collective voice, we can raise awareness for how one conversation, one experience, and one mentor can change a young person’s life. Thanks to Dave Spurling and to all of the mentors making positive differences in their mentee’s lives.