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Mentor, Mentee and Mom Makes Three

Editor's Note: Here is an example of how the NFB:AE's Mentorship Program can provide an excellent experience for all involved, including the mentee parent. Joyce and Sarah Mainland and Denise Sanders all live in Kelowna, British Columbia, where they are active in the NFB:AE's Central Okanagan Chapter. *Image: From left to right: Denise Sanders (mentor) with her dog, Trixie, Joyce Mainland (mom) and Sarah Mainland (mentee) swimming in Okanagan Lake.

Sarah:

I first met my mentor, Denise, at one of the chapter meetings of the NFB:AE. That was seven years ago when I was in grade eight.

She invited me to her house for a sleepover, where we talked, listened to music and ate junk food. The next day Denise and I took the bus to meet my mother. Denise is an excellent traveller, and all the bus drivers seem to know her.

Although I had to move away for four years, we always kept in contact with each other. Now that I am back living in the same city, we are spending more time with each other again. We meet for coffee, and I go to her place to stay overnight once in a while. At her house we sometimes cook dinner or bake cakes.

Denise is great at explaining things and encouraging me to do stuff on my own. I know that if I needed someone to talk to or someone I can depend on, I can call on Denise. I like being with Denise. She is lots of fun and full of positive energy and laughs a lot.

I am so lucky to have Denise as my mentor.

Joyce:

I remember when Denise first approached me to ask if it would be all right to have Sarah over to her house for a visit. I didn?t know Denise too well then, but it was the first time anyone actually volunteered to take my daughter to do anything. I had a good feeling about Denise right from the start, and I am so glad it has turned out so well.

I have always said, lovingly, that Sarah is somewhat of a puzzle coming together and sometimes the pieces just don?t seem to fit. When these times arise, Denise is always willing to listen to my concerns and offer her insight and hindsight. I get a real kick out of watching Denise attempt to figure out the puzzle! What patience!

Denise comes up with some really great strategies and backs me up when I need it. It is true what they say about the willingness of kids to jump through hoops for someone other than their parents--this is so true of Sarah.

Now that Sarah is an adult, her relationship with Denise is as a trusted and respected friend. Denise is an excellent role model and mentor for Sarah, but she has been an excellent resource for me as a parent, not to mention a valued friend.

Denise:

During the past seven years, Sarah and I have developedwhat I would call a mentor/mentee friendship. We have experienced many things together such as cleaning house, folding clothes, working on the abacus and just sitting around having chit-chats. I try to balance our visits by spending some time working on a skillas well as being a friend with whom to have fun.

As a mentor, I find it very interesting trying to discover how I can teach Sarah. I have discovered that we all learn in different ways, and I enjoy the challenge of exploring how to explain tasks to Sarah in a way that is the easiest for her to grasp.

Joyce is a very supportive mom, and she is always available to brainstorm new ideas of how I can be of assistance to her daughter.

This mentoring friendship has been a wonderful experience for me, and I look forward to exploring new areas with Sarah.