Debra, Genesis and the importance of mentoring

January 22, 2020

Genesis came to the Lake County Youth Mentorship Program in September 2018 through a referral by her parents and school social worker. The last few years had been tumultuous for Genesis. Prior to joining the program, she struggled academically and had strained relationships with teachers and classmates. She begged her parents to stay home from school, and was frequently absent.

Entering the mentorship program, Genesis hit it off almost immediately with her mentor Debra. They both love exploring their community, and they attend neighborhood festivals to check out new foods, magic shows, and cultural activities. They also spend a lot of time at the Waukegan Public Library reading, making slime, using the 3D printer, taking Robotics classes, and singing karaoke in the recording studio.

Working with Debra has been a transformative experience for Genesis. She is learning how to handle difficult emotions and manage stress. She reported that after working with a mentor, she has more confidence, made good friends, and knows how to better manage her feelings: “Now when I get mad, I stay calm, count to three, and breathe. That can really help.”

Genesis’ most recent school year was a great success, according to both her and her parents.

Having fulfilled their one year commitment, Genesis and Debra decided to spend another year together within the program. Genesis expressed excitement because she likes being with Debra. Her own words say it best: “She takes me out to good places. She’s nice and kind and fun.” Genesis also added: “She teaches me to be kind to others. I used to be mean to others, like when they asked for my stuff. Now I’m kind and I share.”

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