January is National Mentor Month and at Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, we recognize that the impact of a personal relationship between a mentor and their mentees is truly immeasurable. Relationships like these can develop through experiences when we least expect. Mindy Ernle, an M&T Bank volunteer in our afterschool program at Westminster Community Charter School has experienced the bond of mentorship with a group of third graders that she has been working with for three years now, she tells us about her experience below!
"I decided to get involved with Westminster Community Charter School after following the school (through communication from M&T Bank) and hearing about all the great developments that had been happening through the years. My oldest child had left for college and I really wanted to spend some of my free time volunteering. I missed being around younger children and thought this would be a great opportunity to give back. Honestly, the kids give me way more than I think I give them though.
It has been so rewarding for me to spend an hour a week with the 1st, 2nd and now 3rd graders (yes, I’ve stayed with the same original group of kids because I just adore them). To watch them grow and learn and be inquisitive makes my day. I’ve met other M&T employees and forged friendships through the program which has been fun.
The biggest change I’ve seen with the kids is their maturity level and it’s been delightful to witness. We can have some very open conversations and while sometimes the topics are difficult to navigate (loss of a family member, etc..) I hope in some small way I’m making their days brighter and adding some different perspectives as I know they sure do that for me.
Volunteering for the Reading Superhero program and now the Craft Club is honestly the favorite part of my week!"