The Mentor Diaries: Ashley Cordt
By: Ashley Cordt, BCYMP Mentor
Being a mentor for the Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program is one of the best decisions I have made since coming to Brookings. I am a sophomore Exercise Science student. I recently added a Leadership and Management of Nonprofit Organizations minor to my studies at SDSU. I came into my freshman year wanting to get involved on campus, but also wanting to get involved in the Brookings community. BCYMP seemed like the perfect bridge.
I applied to be a BCYMP Mentor in my first few weeks on campus and got paired within the first month. I was paired with a six-year-old girl who had a love for exploring and crafting. Meeting once a week, we were able to experience so many new activities together. We went to the Children’s Museum where she could shop the grocery store and be a mechanic all in one day. From our trips to the public library to doing crafts in my dorm room, we established a forever friendship. We shared so many laughs, took several cute photos, and had some crazy dance parties. Coming from different backgrounds, she taught me so much about her culture and opened her heart to me. Getting to grow with her during her kindergarten year was so incredible to experience. Her ongoing light heartedness changed my perspective on how to live every single day. I remained touched by her bravery and courageousness.
This year I received a new mentee who is 8 years old. She is filled with energy, kindness, and lots of questions. I love her curiosity and willingness to try new things. I am excited to see what this mentoring pair has instore for us.
Working with BCYMP is truly a blessing. Darla provides mentors with so many resources and opportunities. Each mentoring pair gets passes and cards from local businesses, which is one of my favorite resources. From buy one, get one at Kool Beans to a Brookings Mentor & Mentee pass into all Bobcat activities, we are able to experience the support from this welcoming and loving community.
Both of my mentoring relationships have challenged me and inspired me in so many ways. Figuring out a weekly plan seemed simple, but having to work through random life conflicts helped me to learn more about time management and organization. Putting yourself into the mentoring position can be intimidating. Right away I thought I needed all the answers. As the year progressed, I learned nobody has all the answers. Sometimes you wing it and at the end of the day, it will all work out. From planning a time during the week to meet, to being a shoulder to cry on, I learned how to adjust. I learned how to be a gentle voice and a source of comfort during the tough times. By the end of the school year, I didn’t need to ask as many questions to understand the emotions she was feeling. I could sense it in her voice and how she acted during our time together.
All of this goes to show how one person can have such an impact on our hearts. I will never forget my mentoring pairs because they have changed my perspective on life. They have reminded me through the chaos and craziness of life, to always slow down and take time to appreciate everything around us. I will never stop giving back to the world because from one gracious heart to the next, we can change the world.
Ashley Cordt is a BCYMP mentor and SDSU student and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in becoming a BCYMP Mentor, the first step will be to fill out our application here:
Please share this link, too, if you’re already a BCYMP Mentor and know others who’d be a great influence on one of the youth on our waiting list! Thank you.