Mentorship turns into friendship

Ke’Von and her mentor

The volunteer and her 13-year-old friend Ke’Von go to dinner before going to a choir concert. The volunteer partnered with Bethany Christian services, agreeing to serve as a mentor for Ke’Von and meet with her twice a month. Ke’Von is a gorgeous girl with a new hairdo every time the volunteer picks her up.

When Ke’Von wears her boots in the mall, she’s taller than the volunteer, and is able to sling her arm around the shoulders of her mentor. This makes the volunteer feel insecure, since she’s already short and small and often not taken seriously. Nonetheless, seven years and height and color are no barriers for their friendship.

It’s the volunteer’s first time sitting in Long John Silvers, but Ke’Von talks about how her “ahnt” took her often. As they munch on their fries and fried fish and chicken, their song comes on in the restaurant. “No Air” by Jordin Sparks, one that they sing along to in the volunteer’s car anytime they drive somewhere. There’s no question of whether or not they’ll sing their song in the restaurant. People give them strange looks but they break off into separate solos, trading off the different parts with ease. The little girl in pigtails to their left stares at them, perhaps intrigued by their friendship, but they don’t care. They let it all loose as they vocalize the climax of the song: “So how! ---Howwwww, do you expect ME, me, to live alone with just ME, ‘cause ma world revolves around you, it’s so hard for me to breathe.”

The volunteer and Ke’Von still have time to kill before the concert, so they play hangman on their napkins. When asked about boys, Ke’Von says there are two that she kind of likes right now that will be at the choir concert. She mentions a fight that happened at school and that she’s not friends with her anymore, making the point clear by showing the volunteer tufts of hair from her pocket she pulled earlier in the fight. The volunteer tells Ke’Von that violence is not the answer, but her mother has already said the same.

Looking back down at the napkin with the various letters scribbled, the volunteer guesses the phrase “best mentor ever” before the stick person is fully drawn. She doesn’t feel worthy of the title. She listens and sings and drives, but she knows the time is limited. There’s only so much she can do in the time allotted for any service opportunity. She realizes she must put her insecurities aside and focus on what she can learn from the people she meets.

This story was submitted by Liliya Mironova of Bethany Christian Services. Submit your own mentoring story . Or learn how to become a mentor!