D’Angelo, Mr. Matt and Ms. Barbara - Virginia
The Up Center
My husband Matt and I have had a wonderful experience with our 10 year old mentee, D'Angelo. I have worked in education for years, and Matt just recently joined the field of education, so you would think that being around children would not feel new to us. However, it is a completely different experience just being able to enjoy a child one-on-one without an academic outcome in mind.
Matt and I were both nervous at first - we wondered if D'Angelo would like us, if we'd be able to think up enough things to do, if it would be awkward, etc... However, what we've discovered is that we can be completely ourselves. We are fortunate that D'Angelo is a very happy, easy child who is satisfied doing anything at all with us, and his mother is very supportive and great to work with. We have gone to basketball games, ordered pizza and played video games, taken him along on our grocery store runs, walked and fed our 3 dogs and two cats, baked cookies, played in the snow, walked on the beach... The Up Center has been fantastic by not only providing tickets to special events that we can take D'Angelo to each month but also in giving advice when we have questions about being mentors. Matt and I do not plan to have children so it has been a very rewarding experience to get to know a child on this level. While we are providing him the opportunity to do some fun things he might not otherwise be doing, we are learning a great deal from him as well. It is fascinating to hear his insights and perspectives on life from a child's point of view. It really opens our eyes as adults and gives us another way of looking at our own lives.