As I walked through the cafeteria for the first time to meet Kwame at Cornerstone Elementary, of course every student at the table was interested in who I was and why I was there. Kwame introduced me as his mentor. One of the kids replied, “What’s that?” I was curious to see his response, which was “It’s like a big brother you do things with.”
Our first couple of outings, Kwame was quiet and reserved. I worried that maybe he didn’t like me or that he wasn’t interested in what we were doing. I quickly realized that I was wrong when his personality started to come out. In fact, after taking him to Breakout Adventure with a group of his peers and their mentors, Kwame and his friend made a list of all of the things he wanted us to do together! I try to eat lunch with him at least once or twice a month at his school. Even though my schedule is hectic, I see the smile on his face when I walk into the cafeteria and it refocuses my daily desires and plans. I also see several of his classmates who are interested in our relationship and are asking me about having a mentor next year.
I’ve come to realize that it may not be necessarily what I say to him, but just the fact that I’m making time to hang out with him that makes a difference.
Whether I see him at school, volunteer with him, or doing some type of activity, I’ve seen that just hanging out and being a part of his life is a big deal to him. I’ve also learned, these past few months, to truly think about what is important in my schedule and how my actions are affecting others. This has been a great experience and I’m excited to continue with the Aspire Movement. The impact that Kwame has made on me is a lasting one and I hope to be the same for him.
(Rocky is married and attends Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham)