MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: Rachel Paula
Rachel Paula has been a mentor with BCYMP for the last three years. However, Rachel’s work with BCYMP began before she became a mentor, as a member of the BCYMP Board of Directors. When Rachel saw a need for more mentors and the positive influence mentors had on children’s lives, she decided to serve BCYMP in a different way and applied to be a mentor. Rachel recalls that, originally, her mentee was a creature of habit, wanting to mostly do the same things like hang out after school, bake, and play with her dog. Now after three years of being his mentor, she sees him willing to open up to new things and experiences. Currently, Rachel and her mentee are working on trying every pizza place in Brookings. Through these experiences together, Rachel and her mentee have become extremely close. Her mentee told his dad that he is Rachel’s “sidekick.” The most rewarding aspect of mentoring, Rachel says, is that she knows she is making a difference in the life of her mentee. He knows she is someone he can trust and she will lend emotional support when he needs it. To those considering mentoring, Rachel says that mentoring is a wonderful experience for both the mentor and the mentee. She explains, “It sometimes only takes the littlest thing to make a big difference.” Through mentoring, Rachel has become a hero to her sidekick.