By Danielle Larison
“A few years ago, I shadowed Megan and Whitney, volunteers from YFC’s Campus Life Club in Gahanna, as they mentored girls at Gahanna East Middle School. I loved the interactions and immediately became excited to go back every week.
“Two years ago, Cathy Spurlock and I began leading a 6th grade girls’ group. I feel so honored to be allowed into their worlds. During their study hall time, they have the option to come play a game with us and hear about how to be better leaders. We try to help them respond in healthy ways to some of their bigger issues, but mostly we try to show by example by quoting people with good character or from our own lives. They share anything from small blessings to heavy turmoil in their lives. Sometimes we bring treats, but I really believe they come week after week because they are eager for someone to listen and empathize with them.
“It’s easy to get discouraged when we only get 15-20 minutes of meaningful conversation with the girls each week. I end up wondering if I am making any difference. I have grown to care for them and want the best for them.
“But recently, I had the privilege to see one of the girls we shadowed years ago proclaim on a stage in front of 500 people that she has received Christ because the mentors at her school invited her to a Bible study! When I heard her share this, it gave me so much hope to continue to show up for these 6th grade girls.
“I am feeling emotional with the school year ending. I will really miss these weekly encounters with the girls. I’ve learned that my high expectations of wanting to see dramatic and positive results in their lives is not necessary. Our lesson plan does not have to be perfect. God is using the little bits of time I am given with them even when I feel like it isn’t enough.”
Danielle mentors middle school girls as part of YFC’s In-School Mentoring Program. YFC currently supports mentors in nine middle and high schools around Central Ohio. Our team provides the faith-neutral curriculum and support needed to be successful in this role. If you’d like to learn more about being an in-school mentor, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.