In sharing her biography at the first SWSG meeting of the year, Jackie, a mentor from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, had no idea the effect her own interests would have on the girls. The first lesson of the year focuses on introductions and getting to know each other. The mentors write their own biographies in order to share what they are studying, as well as their hobbies and passions. Jackie’s focus in school not only caught the attention of one of her mentees, but helped create a safe space that allowed them to form a special bond.
“I had a young mentee who depended on me a lot during the time we spent at their elementary school. She knew from my biography that I was going to Carlow to be a nurse, so she would always ask questions about what to do when she got sick, and my typical answer was to eat some chicken noodle soup and to get some rest. On the day of Jump into Spring, she brought her mother over to meet me, and her mother began to thank me for being such a great role model for her. She then handed me a lunchbox and said, “She has an inhaler and an epi-pen in there, and she told me that she only trusted you with it, since you were going to school to be a nurse.” I told her not to worry because she was in good hands. Before the mother left, she turned to me and said, “You know…she calls you ‘big sister’ when she talks about you at home.” This made me realize the depth of the relationships we make with the girls, and how big of an impact we make in their lives.”