Some years ago, I had the opportunity of being an Academic Mentor at a local Elementary School. To tell you the truth I was a bit apprehensive (yes, me). It wasn’t necessarily being with kids - I love kids, nor was it the fact that this student lived in the barrio - I frequent that location often. There was only one reason that caused me to pause every week as I drove up to the school.
Here we go; it was because my 5th grade mentee was taking Pre-Algebra amongst his other subjects. I could easily handle his History, English, Reading and even the Science homework. But, Algebra is a totally different thing - how could I mentor this kid when I took “bonehead” math three times in college and barely passed.
Nonetheless, Angel and I developed a bond. I remembered one day Angel said to me with a glint in his eye, “don’t worry Betty - you can help me with everything but Algebra. I’ll help you!” Angel began to open up about his home life, friends, sports and even the gang who was trying to recruit him. I went out to the soccer fields to watch him play and met his friends and family. I loved Angel and in spite of my mathematical inadequacies.
I can tell you today, Angel is a strapping young man who has successfully navigated the trials of adolescence and gang life. He has the same glint in his eye when he told me, “Betty, I didn’t like you because of your homework assistance, especially math. I liked you because you came and saw me every week.” I still get choked up when I think about Angel - who really mentored who?
City Impact is about relationship building and pouring our lives into children, youth and families. God uses us and even our inabilities to make a difference. Thank you for your continued prayer, encouragement and financial support.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham
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