The kids and young adults who participate in our Transformative Mentoring Program come from diverse backgrounds and the stresses that life can throw their way have the ability to knock even the most experienced mentors off balance.
That's why New Pathways has begun implementing a new set of coaching protocols to give added strength to the social, emotional, and academic support provided by our mentors. We could go on and on about what "the statistics" or "the experts" have to say about youth outcomes. But instead, hear the voice of one mentor who overcame her own adversities to help her mentee weather a difficult chapter in their life and increase trust in their mentoring relationship.
Robin Hilgart: I'm so glad to get this opportunity to share a different side of the mentor/mentee experience that most people don't get to see, because so many of us struggle in silence, thinking we have to be that stoic figure in their lives. But the truth is, and it was this way for myself and Briana and others I've spoken with, that when you let down your guard a little and make yourself open and vulnerable, that you can begin to break down some of those initial barriers to trust that come with the territory.
For the two of us, we struggled at the very beginning to be vulnerable and share deeply. Having gone through my mentor training sessions and working closely with New Pathways staff, even though I felt out of my comfort zone at times, I felt the support I needed and had the resources available to bridge that initial gap and forge ahead. It took us about four years for Briana to feel really comfortable enough to share with me what she was going through at home. Our focus was mostly on supporting her in her academics, which was a much safer conversation. Quickly, once we began to open up to one another, on a more vulnerable level, those early struggles became an asset—moments we could look back on, take inspiration from and learn to be better mentors and mentees.
NPFY: What would you say, looking back, was the moment you realized you were making a difference?
Robin: As I alluded to, there can be so much insecurity in the early going—both from the perspective of the mentor, as for the mentee. We all signed up to become mentors because we wanted to make a difference. And I think many of us are hit by reality the moment that match is made, that every mentor/mentee relationship is a journey that requires patience, endurance, and confidence that grows along with us.
For me, it was when Briana shared what she was dealing with that I knew I had made the right decision to become a mentor. To see her open up and reach out, was incredibly rewarding and an affirmation of the training, the workshops, all the getting-to-know-each-other. That’s the moment you realize being a mentor means being something so much greater than yourself.
If you’re reading this, we’re pretty sure you have what it takes to become a mentor to one of the 150 inspiring youth on our waiting list.
Get in touch with our mentor recruiter, Haley, or come to one of our Mentor Introduction Sessions held Tuesday evenings at 6:15pm and on the 2nd and 4th Thursday each month at 7:30am at our Community Center in Downtown Phoenix.
We're looking forward to supporting you and your mentee on your journey.
So what are you waiting for? Click the button!
In 2008, I participated in a self-improvement course with Landmark Education. As part of that course, I took on a project working with Arizona Quest for Kids mentoring high-potential, low income youth. I identified closely with the personal stories of many of these kids—I come from a similar background where neither of my parents finished high school, and the expectations and support for my success were low.
But I had a few people around me who demonstrated to me the importance of mentorship and guidance in difficult situations. I knew I had something to offer these youth through mentorship and investment. Arizona Quest for Kids merged with the organization that eventually became New Pathways for Youth, and I’ve tried to up my impact year after year.
How have you gotten involved?
Once you meet these youth and get involved, you get bit by “the bug.” Their passion for life and determination to succeed is contagious, and you end up wanting to do everything you can to help them reach their full potential. I established Rocco’s Pin Pals as a way to provide mentors with a fun night out activity for their mentees. It quickly became bigger than that and turned into an effective fundraising event for New Pathways. Now that it’s taken on a life of its own, we feel the push to try and get creative and make it better every year.
Why is it important for you to invest in our community?
In my experience working with at-risk youth, every kid has a spark—a “lightbulb” that burns bright. At a certain point, if they’re put under the kinds of stress that many of our youth face—domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness, food insecurity—you run the risk of having that lightbulb go out. And understandably, if you were living in that kind of environment for too long, it’s hard to see a future beyond it. So I’ve found it so important to invest early and often in these young lives, and provide as many opportunities for them as possible.
What advice do you have for those on the sidelines, wondering how or if they should get involved?
I come at this question from the standpoint of having seen the success of Rocco’s Pin Pals. New Pathways CEO, Christy McClendon, has pushed the bar so high and it’s remarkable what her team is capable of. In 9 years, we’ve raised more than $400,000 for New Pathways. I would encourage people with the means and the network, to help establish more events like ours. They’re a great way to make people think differently about their resources.
Most of all, I'd encourage people to get out there and become mentors. That's the best way to make a big impact in the lives of our youth.
Does Rocco's story tug on your heart strings like it does ours?
You can make the kind of impact that he does by getting in touch with us and getting involved. Become a member of the Transformations Society or just come in and volunteer!
1) Make your donation to New Pathways for Youth.
2) Tell all your friends how easy it is to transform a life with a contribution to New Pathways.
3) File your taxes and claim the Charitable Tax Credit on your AZ DOR From 321.
4) Receive your tax credit in the form of a bigger refund or less taxes owed.
Married couples can claim up to $800 and individuals, up to $400. Talk to your tax professional for more details.
It's never been easier to be a force for change in your community!
Help us fill our volunteer gap at any one of these upcoming activities and projects!
Parent Program Childcare
Volunteers can play board games and sports, do crafts, or simply spend time with the school-aged youth. The time you give allows parents to develop essential skills! Volunteers must have a valid Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card.
Number of Volunteers:
Date and Time:
Wednseday, November 22, 5:30–8pm
Number of Volunteers:
Date and Time:
Annual Adopt-a-Youth Drive
Gifts range from $25–$35, must be new and wrapped with the name of each youth on the package. Gifts can be dropped off at our community center between now and Monday, December 11, 4:30pm to ensure timely delivery.
Date and Time:
Drop off by Monday, December 11, 4:30pm
Contact Mary Beth Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a youth wish list!
See an opportunity that fits with your busy schedule?
Connect with us!
Rehab Burger Therapy
Location: Orchid house at the Brickyard, 21 E 6th St. #146 Tempe, AZ 85281
Save the Date: NPFY Annual Breakfast
Spring 2018If last year was any indication, our 2018 Annual Breakfast is sure to be one of the year's most inspiring events. Don't miss out on your opportunity to share in the success of our youth and their mentors and experience transformation, first-hand.
Ticket and table registration information coming soon!
Save the Date: Dave Trout Charity Golf Tournament
April 2018It's time to start working on those swings! Our annual Dave Trout Charity Golf Tournament will be here before you know it. Put your foursome together and we'll see you out on the links.
Registration information coming soon!