This year, AMP programs hosted Open Houses, where the general public stopped in and saw what happens during mentoring sessions, talked with staff, mentors, and mentees, and learned about how mentoring makes a difference in communities.
Alexandria youth also participated in a Story Contest on what their mentor means to them. This year's winner was 13 year old Jaylan from Wright to Read. Read her story below!
My mentor has been working with me for four years. She has seen me evolve from age nine to 13. She is the first mentor I have had. I get excited when it's the day for our session.
I used to hate reading. Now I really like it because it's become much easier for me due to working with my mentor. During my free time, I read much more often than I used to. Sometimes at school during home room when other kids go on their computers to play games, I like to read a book instead.
My mentor compliments me when I tackle a new word by sounding it out, or make text connections with my own experience; that makes me happy. She brings me little gifts from other countries she travels to so I know she was thinking about me when she was away, which makes me feel good.
I work hard during sessions, but we also laugh a lot. We have fun reward days where we go to museums or out for lunch or to the movies. My favorite place for lunch together is a local pizza place in her neighborhood. Sometimes we go to events at Wright to Read, which are tons of fun.
My mentor and I have a lot of things in common. We both like crazy-nuts, a food we invented by mixing craisins and peanuts. We both like French art, such as paintings by Marie Laurencin, Claude Monet, and Paul Gaugin. We both have types of arthritis; we connect on how it feels to sometimes have pain.
On the drive to and from the session, I talk with her about what's going on in my life. And between sessions, we text each other with news, such as when I got my long hair cut short.
She's the mentor I want to stay with forever. I want to thank her a million times because I am so grateful.