Mentoring and community service are not new to Joyce Jacobs. In fact, she can’t remember when giving back wasn’t a part of her daily life. She’s been an informal mentor through the YMCA, the school system, the American Red Cross and church for many decades. You can ask her who her first mentee was and she recounts countless young men and women who she has nurtured and celebrated with her time through the years.<br/>
Joyce chose to become a COACH Kids mentor because she saw a big need in her community and she wanted to give back in any way she could. “It (mentoring) gives me purpose. I’ve worked with kiddos for several years and in all my years have never seen a greater need than now for mentoring the youth of our community.”
Currently, Joyce is matched with Natalia and they have been together since Natalia was in 2nd grade. That’s 5 years! They started in the Local Heroes program, in the schools, and have grown together as Natalia has gone from a little girl to a middle schooler. Joyce has seen her grow so much physically, but also emotionally, in learning to trust and help others. They’ve baked cookies, done crafts, swam in Joyce’s backyard pool and walked dogs at the Humane Society. When a parent was lost in a car accident, Joyce was quietly there, functioning as a stable presence in a hard time. Sometimes mentoring is about going and doing, while the most important part is “being”.
Joyce says that there are many benefits of mentoring through COACH Kids. “COACH Kids gives you several opportunities to meet with your mentee and to gather with other kids and adults.” Joyce and Natalia are always in attendance at COACH Kids events, participating and making every activity fun. “Natalia always asks, ‘what is our next activity with COACH Kids?’” COACH Kids events grow kids and relationships, participants look forward to seeing each other for connection and camaraderie.
When asked why someone should consider mentoring or donating to COACH Kids, she points out that “if each one helps one, maybe we can change their lives for the better. Mentoring in the schools, through Local Heroes, only takes one lunch hour a week, and that’s really not much when you consider the life of a child and the future of our community. Whether you mentor or donate, it all helps!”
You can find out more about youth mentoring by contacting COACH Kids by phone (765) 654-8812, take a look at COACHkids.org or attend the next Orientation & Training session on Saturday, February 16th at 10am. In 30 minutes, you can learn about who COACH Kids is and the basics of mentoring in Clinton County. In 90 minutes, you can dig deeper into how these relationships change a child, a community and the world!