By Tommy L., Current DC Youth Mentee
Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Lim, Mentoring & Volunteer Programs Coordinator
Happy National Mentoring Month! It has been such a joy building relationships with our wonderful youth mentees, learning about their interests, passions, and goals. Every January, I have the unique opportunity to reflect on the larger meaning of the work I do with the supremely gracious, thoughtful, talented, hilarious and warm young people in AALEAD’s Mentoring Program. I am so proud to be their program coordinator, and I am excited to share three accounts of youth mentee experiences throughout this month. This first post comes from Tommy L., who has been in the program for two and a half years. – Stephanie Lim
On what Tommy has learned and how he has grown since being mentored by Yushen W.:
The most important thing that I learned from Yushen is that in any future professions that I want to go into, there will always be more certification and training requirements. This means studying is necessary. I don’t like studying and neither does Yushen, but watching him put effort into studying has made me think about ways I could implement that skill into my life so that I could be successful as Yushen. Since knowing Yushen, I have grown to complain less about school and made more time to study before exam days. One thing that Yushen is trying to encourage me to do is exercise in the gym. I understand the benefits that come from it, but I can’t handle the pain right now so will try it later on in the future. Yushen was a bit hard on me when we were at the gym because he made me do a tremendous amount of push-ups for every time that I couldn’t complete a set of bicep curls. Even though the experience was haunting and painful for me, at least I now know what working out at the gym feels like.
On what it means to have an AALEAD mentor:
Having a mentor with AALEAD means having an older someone that would encourage me to do my best and to try new things because great experiences could come out of it that would last for a lifetime, just like the experience that I gained from being at the gym with Yushen.
On what’s next for Tommy, and any advice for AALEAD youth mentees:
I am looking forward to attending college after high school. My advice to the AALEAD youth mentees is, don’t be afraid to ask the mentors for any help because they’re there to provide love and support. Also, if your mentor suggests that you both should try something new, just do it because it’ll be worth the experience.
Please stay tuned for next week’s post, and learn more about AALEAD’s Youth Mentoring Program here.