Krista Tappan shared with Empower Youth Network why mentoring matters from her perspective. She has been working with her mentee since December 2021. Tappan has enjoyed watching her mentee grow and find her own interests. “She is always trying new activities and is cheerful to be around. She is coming into her own and maturing. It is amazing to watch,” Tappan said.
She was inspired to become a mentor when she heard about the program through a friend. Tappan thought it sounded like a great way to give back to the community, especially because she enjoys being with kids and making a positive impact.
Tappan is someone her mentee can talk with that is not a family member or teacher. Her mentee can open up to Tappan, and she knows her mentor is a constant in her life. “I encourage her and enjoy hearing about all her interests and support her when she is feeling overwhelmed,” Tappan said.
The experience of mentorship has been so uplifting not just for her mentee, but also for Tappan. Young people have new challenges now and it is nice to help them navigate through them. Tappan says that they learn how to get through life together, which creates a bond that is very meaningful.
Tappan started mentoring her student right after COVID. They were wearing masks when they started meeting which was difficult, but they still made a connection. “I have watched her grow from a 4th grader to a 6th grader and I am so proud of her achievements,” she said. Tappan has gotten to see her mentee reach milestones and shine on her own.
She hears about all her activities and loves to support her mentee’s interests. Her student joined clubs upon entering middle school, which has opened up new conversations for them to have when they meet now. Her student has also learned how to make new friends, and talk to the school counselor and Tappan when things get stressful at school. It truly has been remarkable for Tappan to watch her mentee grow through the years.
Middle school comes with new challenges, and it can be difficult for students to find their place. “I talk to her about friendships and if she wants to talk about her feelings, we explore those. I support her on the good days and tough days, and she has become a positive advocate for herself,” Tappan said.
Being a mentor is a rewarding experience and Tappan looks forward to meeting with her mentee each week. She often leaves their time together smiling and feeling so proud of her student. “The world is fast paced… to sit and talk, play a game and be silly together can change the course of a child’s day,” Tappan said.
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 Krista Tappan and to all of the mentors in the valley making positive differences in their mentee’s lives.