March 17, 2021

Monica takes charge of her study habits

Her mentor, Katy, is impressed by her ability to advocate for herself

Monica* and her professional mentor, Katy, weren’t paired by accident. They are both spunky, energetic, creative, and relationship-focused with a caring heart towards others.

Katy remembers going on an outing with Monica before quarantine. They went out to lunch and there was a young woman asking for food or money. Without hesitation or judgement, Monica offered to use part of her allowance to buy this woman lunch.

“With a kind presence, [Monica] walked right up to the stranger and gave her a warm meal,” said Katy. “Although she is known for her spunk and vibrance, I will always lean into her generosity because it often teaches me so much.”  

When school started last September, Monica was bummed that it would be online. She thrives when she has consistent engagement and connections with her friends. This virtual learning format doesn’t fit her needs very well, so her work suffered.

After some intentional conversations with Monica’s family and teachers, Katy started to join Monica in math class, on Tuesdays, to tackle some less-than-exciting online math work. Over the course of a few months, Monica has improved from completing 1 to 2 levels of work a month to completing 4-5 levels of work each week. This was a huge accomplishment for Monica. When Katy and Monica worked on math problems together, Katy was impressed by Monica’s ability to advocate for herself and tell Katy what she needed to complete the work.

For example, Monica will often ask if she can play music to help her focus. This idea had not occurred to Katy, so she was thrilled to see Monica introduce this strategy to their time together. “It has been a wonderful chance to hear music Monica likes while also completing the work she needs to get done,” said Katy, while reflecting on her role as a professional mentor. “I just get to partner with [Monica] and continue to encourage her in her strengths and passions [that] she already has inside her.”

*Name changed to protect youth's privacy