A few months ago, while eating lunch at a T.G.I. Friday’s with Destyne, my Little from the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston program, she asked me why I chose to become a mentor. We were about to dig into the “Brownie Obsession,” this ridiculously delicious, dense sundae, when I said, “Well, because I was so fortunate to have so many mentors in my life, I wanted to be on the other side and give back…plus, you’re fun to be around and I’ve learned a lot from YOU.”
When I decided to become a mentor, I originally thought about it in terms of “paying it forward.” I have been blessed with several strong female mentors in my life, including my grandmother, mother and three women I used to work with at the Crittenton Women’s Union. I learned acceptance and forgiveness from my grandmother, strength and perseverance from my mother, and how to be a dedicated, passionate advocate for nonprofits from my former colleagues.
Now that I’ve been a mentor for two years, I think about the things – little and big – that I’ve learned from my Little – most of all, she keeps me in check. You need that when life gets hectic.
In my current role as the director of external relations & development at the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA), I’m responsible for managing theorganization’s marketing and communications initiatives (including the launch of a statewide campaign this fall!), development and fundraising, as well as MSA’s government relations agenda.
As the state commission on service and volunteerism, MSA supports thousands of people throughout the year who serve as AmeriCorps members and volunteers across the Commonwealth – tutoring and mentoring children, cleaning up beaches, restoring and maintaining trails, building affordable housing, and providing legal assistance to low-income families.
I joined MSA a few months before Congress passed the historic, bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. While it’s been a tumultuous two years since its passage, I feel the movement has grown even stronger…we have banded together with strong partners like Mass Mentoring Partnership and continue to tell our story. It’s made all the difference.
I’d like nothing more than to tell people to get out there. Mentor…volunteer…tutor a child…just do something! For more information on how to become a mentor in the Big Sister program, visit Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Visit www.mass-service.org to learn more about the role MSA plays across the state.