Back in late 2021, Joe’s mother reached out to staff at the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Chicago to inquire about their mentorship program for her son, Joe, who was very shy. She was concerned about Joe’s social connections after removing her children from public school due to bullying concerns. Joe was socially isolated, and his mom was looking for support from another caring adult to help him socialize and gain more confidence in himself.
Joe, now 11, was paired with Kelly, a mentor who is energetic, self-motivated and very attuned to his interests. Joe’s mom shares with Catholic Charities staff that he admires Kelly and hopes that he can grow up to be as successful and hardworking as she is. Kelly has helped Joe develop his self-confidence and boost his self-esteem by exploring the boy’s interests in cars. The two enjoy going to automotive shows, learning about cars and engaging people they meet at the shows in conversation about their shared interests. One of Joe’s future goals is to become a mechanic. He’s had opportunities to meet other mechanics and even help work on classic cars with one of his mentor’s friends.
Kelly recently reported that Joe has become very independent and expresses himself well when they are out in public. They have also participated in volunteer activities at nursing homes, playing games and talking to residents.
“I love being a mentor and became one because it’s always great to see things through the eyes of a younger person and how you might be able to help shape their lives and interests,” said Kelly.
As a result of the mentorship relationship, young Joe developed the ability to take initiative, communicate more effectively and passionately serve others in his community, including at his church where he volunteers at the soup kitchen with his mother.