Two months in a row, the story we have to share includes a child so excited to see her mentor, she would wait for her arrivalthis one often outside, even in the rain.
Becca was ten years old, and she didn"t have a stable, positive female role model in her life. She also lived in poverty. Becca struggled with feeling bad about herself, as children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often do. They typically have troubled relationships and perform poorly in school.
ADHD is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting children. According to the American Psychiatric Association, ADHD symptoms include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).
There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment can greatly help with symptoms. It typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. In Becca"s case, her mental health therapist thought a Great Life mentor could help, and she was right.
Great Life Mentoring is a Research-Based mental health intervention that utilizes trained community volunteers as mentors to support the needs of children facing poverty and mental health challenges.
Tracy had recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and wanted to get active in her new community, so she volunteered to be a Great Life mentor. She was matched with Becca.
Tracy was interested in doing activities that would give Becca an opportunity to truly enjoy herself. It was the gift Tracy enjoyed giving. So they did craft projects together, spent time outside, went to the zoo and even did a bit of cooking. Once they made a Thanksgiving dinner together, just the two of them.
Becca also loved going to the library, and she asked her mentor to help guide her in school projects. Becca wanted to do well, and Tracy encouraged her. Eventually, reading aloud became one of Becca"s favorite things in life. Each week when she would see her mentor, Becca would talk about whatever book she was reading, and they would read out loud together.
After a while (and about two years into their friendship), Becca announced to her mentor: "I"ve been putting the effort in, and my grades are getting better!" She was improving in her school subjects and wanted Tracy to know. This was a proud moment for them both.
Yes, there have been times when Becca"s ADHD was apparent. She could have problems focusing, being restless or frustrated, but Tracy looked on her friend with delight, and that helped Becca to stay engaged over the long term. In fact, it began to have a deep impact, and that is why a person might waitout in the rainso as not to miss a moment of time with their friend.