National Mentoring Month Reflections

Sarah Cheney, AmeriCorps VISTA

January, what a month! It’s the start of the new year, we’re all back from vacations, rested (hopefully) and ready to get back to work. I started the month diving headfirst into the National Mentoring Month campaign. It was exciting, it was fun, it was stressful, but most of all it was rewarding. I loved seeing the increase of traffic to the Santa Fe Mentoring and Tutoring website and all the active participation on our Facebook posts. But what brought me the most joy was seeing our mentors and tutors receive the appreciation they deserved.

The National Mentoring Month campaign was created to thank our mentors and tutors for the important roles they play and to recruit more volunteers. Any of the ads or PSA I created were all targeted at that, but the best thing I was able to accomplish was holding an appreciation event at SITE Santa Fe. Before the official campaign began, several members from the SFMT Collaborative joined me to form a National Mentoring Month Committee. This Committee helped me with all my advertising (designs, where to publish, contacts, etc.), going on the Richard Eeds radio show, and ultimately, they helped the event become what it was!

For the event, we were spoiled by our community — that’s the only way I can describe it. SITE Santa Fe was unbelievably generous by donating their event space and entire museum to us on the evening of January 26. Because of that, 120 our mentors, tutors, and their mentees/students had free access to tour the museum and learn about the exhibits through guided tours. After they were done touring they then joined us in the event space to enjoy the abundance of food that was donated by Trader Joes, Whoo’s Donuts, Sage Bakehouse, and Kaune’s Neighborhood Market. Aside from delicious food, guests were able to create signs where they wrote or drew anything to show their appreciation for one another, such as the role the mentee plays in the mentor’s life. Guests also were able to see several students from the INSPIRE program perform with their mentors — everyone was blown away by their talent.

I’m so thankful to our community for their support all month long, to my fellow VISTAs who stayed late into the evening helping me with the event, and to the Committee that offered me so much support. The night was insane, but I wouldn’t change it for anything!

National Mentoring Month Committee included: Sabra Romero – Santa Fe Public Schools, Lauren Longworth – Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region, Todd Lopez – INPSIRE Santa Fe, and Molly Timmins –  AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader.

Photos Courtesy of KirstieShoots Photography