RISE Mentoring continues to make an impact during National Mentoring Month
Linda Maldonado sits on the computer trying to figure out how to log in a much-anticipated video call that is scheduled to happen in five minutes. She is a mentor through Pearland Independent School District’s RISE Mentoring program and is about to meet with her mentee, Adan. This is the first time the two of them get to see each other this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maldonado is not the only one who is excited about their first virtual meeting. A second-grader at Lawhon Elementary, Adan has told his mentor every week since the beginning of the school year: “I wish I could see you.” Technology has helped the two stay in touch through weekly phone calls. For other students enrolled in the program, communication has happened the “good old-fashioned” way, through written letters.
In times of a pandemic, being socially distanced doesn’t mean being socially disconnected. RISE Mentoring has adapted how it operates so mentors can continue to show up for their students, even if not in person right now. Its format might look a little bit different, but the purpose of the program continues the same: to make sure that each child feels seen, heard and valued by someone outside of their family.
“During this pandemic, when so many things are different and uncertain, continuing to visit with their RISE mentor weekly via telephone or video chats has helped normalize things for our RISE students,” Lahwon school counselor Amy Perez said. “Many of our students are confined to their home and school environment with not much socializing with others. This year, I feel that the RISE mentor/mentee conversations have been even more meaningful.”
Adan and Maldonado plan on continuing their mentor/mentee relationship, for as long as possible, regardless of any uncertainty COVID-19 might impose.
“He has asked me if I will come to his high school graduation in 10 years,” Maldonado said. “I have so many special memories with him. The latest one is when he told me ‘I like you to infinity.’”
January is National Mentoring Month and Pearland ISD celebrates all of the caring adults who continue to dedicate time to connect with their mentees, helping them grow and achieve their fullest potential.