Spotlight On: Jared — Boys and Girls Club MentorPosted by Foundation Guru
I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with Jared Venetuolo, an Accounting Manager for Collette, to discuss his work as a mentor at the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club. He shared it all with me — the ups, the downs — and the ultimate reward. Check out Jared’s Story:
Why did you choose to become a mentor?
I didn’t actually. I had been interested in it, gone to a seminar about it, even collected the paperwork. But I was hesitant. I was worried that I wouldn’t be exactly what the child I was matched with needed, that I wouldn’t accomplish the goals of a proper mentor. About a month after the seminar, Collette’s CEO came up to me and told me out of the blue that he thought I should be a mentor at the Club. He said I’d be a good fit. So I decided to give it a try. It was a great decision.
What is being a mentor like?
It’s been great. I’ve been involved since November 2011. I was paired with a 10-year-old boy named Nathan. We meet for one hour each week. Sometimes we work on his math or science homework. I taught him how to play Checkers because he loves to play games. We play a lot of basketball. We talk about school, his goals; it’s great getting to know him. The program took care of the matching and it worked out great.
What is Nathan like?
He is a smart kid. And driven! Even before we were paired as mentor/mentee, he would go to the club every day that it was open. I think he was looking for direction and help. He chose to be there. When he heard that there was an opportunity to have a mentor from Collette, he signed right up. He is only 10, but he has actively pursued any opportunity to better himself and get some guidance. He is a go-getter — and that’s been refreshing and motivating for me as well.
Just because I am his mentor does not mean that he can’t teach me a few things. He does. Weekly.
What has been the most rewarding experience in being a mentor?
When we first met, Nathan would get down easily, get sad or frustrated with little reason. He would say whatever he thought, without thought to the consequences. Jeffrey, the man at the club in charge of the mentoring program, recently told me that my influence on Nathan has been very positive. He told me that he used to be more defiant, talk back and sulk. He told me that he’s become much more positive and sensitive. He said that he talks about me all the time at the club and to his parents. That was such a huge compliment! Jeffrey told me that Nathan says that he can’t get in trouble on Wednesdays because it could cut into his time with me. That means a lot. We have a close bond and I am happy to know that our time has been rewarding for Nathan, too.