Josh and Alex have been matched since January of 2016 through T.E.A.M. (Together Engaging Adolescents through Mentoring), a program of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston. Josh became a mentor because he was looking for a positive way to make a difference in someone’s life and wanted to be there for someone in ways he wished someone had been there for him when he was growing up.
Alex is a 14-year-old boy who, prior to being matched, spent the majority of his time indoors playing video games. Not eager to socialize with his neighbors, because he thought they were unsafe, and unable to stay afterschool to join any extracurricular activities due to lack of transportation, he felt at a loss. Alex joined T.E.A.M. because he wanted to be able to trust in someone enough to go out with him; he wanted to rely on that person to be there for him. He wanted a big brother who would teach him things and who would play sports with him. Through T.E.A.M. Alex has been able to find this in Josh.
Throughout their first year together, Josh and Alex have been working on several goals. The goals have included improving Alex’s social skills and exploring new parts of the city together. Every time Josh and Alex meet, they try to move at least one step closer to reaching one of their goals. In order to track their progress, the match has a huge paper foldout map of the Boston area, which they use to cross out each new place they visit. Thus far they have been able to cross out areas like Fenway and Castle Island. Alex and Josh have been successful in expanding their circle of activity by walking around every week. As Alex gets more comfortable, they hope to be able to travel on the “T” more often and go kayaking on the Charles River. They have also been focused on getting Alex to try out for the baseball team next year.
Since Alex and Josh been matched, the quality of their relationship has improved. Alex has been able to open up more as a person, his mannerisms have improved significantly, and he has been able to establish trust with Josh. Josh has gone above and beyond to be consistent and supportive with Alex. He has been very persistent in his efforts to help Alex grow as an individual. He said that his relationship with Alex changed his views about what it is like to grow up these days without support and in a difficult neighborhood. He also shared that, because of his relationship with Alex, he thought Alex now understood that there are more people who care about him and who are willing to help him. Josh stated that Alex had helped him to open his mind a bit more and become less afraid of the world.
Alex and Josh plan on being matched for years to come. They are continuously adding on to their list of goals and figuring out new activities to do together.