Hi Charitable Ladies!

As you know, I have been recommending all of you to do some charitable things – donate, get involved, etc. And who would I be to tell you to do these things and not do them myself?

I do donate and all of those things. But I felt the need to get involved further. So I did some research and found a wonderful organization called The Orangewood Children’s Foundation in Santa Ana. It works with children in the foster care system. I was interested in becoming a mentor so I went to the orientation and got hooked immediately.

They had two ladies who were mentors talk about their experiences. They seemed like regular people which was comforting considering how I was being my own worst critic, wondering if I was smart enough, nice enough, cool enough to be a mentor. They also had two girls tell their personal stories of going through the foster system – both were about 19 years old. Their stories were fascinating and tough to hear. Then they talked about their experience with their mentors. I was fascinated how strong they were but also how vulnerable. They both said that being on time and consistent was REALLY important. It’s not surprising that trust issues are a major hot button with these kids. One of these girls talked about how her mentor had completely flaked on her. Apparently, she was having some work issues and just couldn’t handle being a mentor. I could see that this girl was visibly hurt by this experience. She said she didn’t understand why this woman had just disappeared out of her life. Wow. I vowed right then and there to never do this to a kid.

My Mentor folder – it's official!

I filled out the forms with my info, my interests so that they could match me with someone compatible. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was going to the initial interview with the Mentor Program Coordinators. I don’t know why I was so worried. I’m a good person, educated, steady job, steady relationship, but who knows what they were going to say. I then realized that the last time I went through an interview process was about five years ago, and never for something based on my personal character. Very strange. The two ladies were so welcoming and energetic that I immediately felt better. They had some questions on my interests and what kind of kid I wanted to be matched with. They said that the largest group in need were girls 18 and older. Whoa. I was completely prepared to be with a cute little 10 year old, or maybe even could handle a sassy 13 year old but over 18?! That’s like, an adult. With a kid, the age difference is enough that you are the authority figure no matter what. And going to the zoo, or a movie or talking about school doesn’t sound so tough. But a young adult? Now we’re getting into much more serious topics. Somedays I myself feel like a little girl and do not feel like I am a mature adult. I have always been somewhat silly and immature, eventhough I can handle myself perfectly well in a board room and with any client, no matter how strong they are. My private all-girls school education taught me those skills. But helping a young adult navigate career, finances, future?? Oh my. THAT is a daunting thought.

I hate to admit it, but the thought of a tough 20 year old looking to me to be a mentor scares the shit out of me. See, I just said “Shit.” How am I going to do this?! How should I know if my advice would be the right advice? What if she wants to talk about sex??!!! What if she thinks my clothes are lame and my attitude is way too old school? I tried to breathe, long and deep. Calm down. You are a strong, confident, accomplished woman. You can handle this.

I expressed my concern to the Coordinators about whether or not I was savvy enough to handle a young adult. “I mean, why would a 21 year old girl need a mentor?” I asked. “At 21, they are just starting their adult life,” they said. “All they really want is someone to talk to, and to hang out and do fun stuff with,” they added. I can do that!!! Okay, I need to stop over-thinking this and just jump in.

I leave the interview feeling so inspired and raring to go. I can’t wait to start my mentoring!!! This is going to be such a cool experience.