Thirty men and women from the wider Louisville community have volunteered to enter into mentoring relationships with thirty Family Scholar House residents. It is not a requirement for the residents, and there is no compensation provided to the mentors. In other words, it is entirely voluntary on the part of both the mentor and the mentee. Nobody has to be doing it.
Last week, some of those mentors and mentees gathered for a social of sorts–pizza, conversation and games at our Louisville Scholar House campus in an effort to help everyone to get to know each other. At first, it was like any room full of folks who don’t know each other–quiet, tentative, no one completely sure what to expect. But then the pizza arrived. And the children started playing with one another. And iced tea and salad were served. And everyone sat down at long tables to eat together.
And in just a few minutes the room got very noisy. Conversations erupted all over and laughter ensued. It was as if everyone had suddenly realized that the person next to him or her might well be their new best friend.
As dinner wound down, the FSH staff member leading the event invited everyone to play a game. Playing a game is not always easy for adults–especially adults who’ve just met–but there they were, mentors and mentees, engaged in a mini speed-networking session designed to help them connect with as many people in the room as possible, even if just to exchange their name, favorite movie and most-desired place to visit in their lifetime. It went so well, that the staff member had to insist that it come to an end at the appropriate time–and even then, side conversations kept going as people exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and finished up last bits of talking.
Nothing lasting may come of it. Or something life-changing may come of it (we’re banking on the latter!). But either way, in the hour of space provided for those mentors and mentees to meet and greet one another, new relationships were formed. And, what we know at FSH is that when new relationships are formed, especially out of a common desire for good, the possibilities for growth and learning and mutual sustaining friendship are endless!
Because for us, it’s all about the relationships–the circles of support and caring that build up the walls of this place and build-up the lives contained within these walls. These relationships matter. They are part and parcel of our stories as those who are Family Scholar House–and for every new member of the family (whether staff or volunteer or resident or pre-resident or child or donor) we are truly grateful.