Mentoring can be a life changing experience for both the mentee and the mentor. Taylor Trent is 19 years old, completing an internship at Road to Life Church and working at the YMCA, both in Chesterton, IN. Her father died when she was 11 years old. Suddenly, after his death, Taylor became a young girl in a single parent household. This brought a lot of challenges for both her and her mother. She shares about her experience without a mentor and how it affected her.
“When my dad died I felt really abandoned, alone, scared, no guidance. There were counselors at my school, but I didn't really feel they were truly helping me through it. I felt there was no one there at school to help me. I didn't want to bother my mother because she was grieving and going through her own emotions.”
Q: Tell me how you feel a mentor would have benefited you during that time?
A: “I feel like a mentor in my life would have been crucial. I feel like it would have changed everything. Now that I am older I have a lot of leadership, influence, and people involved in my life. However, at the time when my Dad died, I would have benefited from just talking to someone.”
Q: Do you think it would have changed you?
A: “I was going through a crazy time. I had a lot of depression, suicidal thoughts. It was dark. I would have given anything to have someone ask about how I was feeling, why I was feeling a certain way, and just having someone who kept tabs on my emotions and cared about me. If I would have had a mentor, I feel like a lot of those dark emotions could have been avoided or at least I would have dealt with them. I would have liked to have someone walk with me through it.”
Q: How do you think a mentor could have helped you walk through it?
A: “When you think of mentor, you think of someone who is already at a place you want to be. It doesn't have to be a job, it could be they have arrived spiritually, emotionally, and mentally where you want to be. If someone could have walked with me and told me how they got to a point where they no longer had thoughts of depression then maybe it would have been different.”
Q: How do you think your grieving process would have been different with a mentor?
A: “I think I would have actually known how to grieve. All I knew at the time was my Dad wasn't coming back and I didn't know anything else. You are mad, frustrated, and confused. You don't know what to do. And kids are navigating through all kinds of things—Not just death. It would have helped me. I know it would help if middle school students, even high school students had someone to check in with them.”
Q: How do you feel like a mentor would have helped you in school?
A: "It would have definitely helped. During my grief I was not focused. I didn't feel like I needed to do any my work. I felt it wasn't important.”
Students who are mentored are proven to be better in school, are likely to avoid drugs and alcohol, less likely to have unwanted pregnancies, and more likely to succeed academically and emotionally. Liv.True is a mentoring program who meets at various schools in Northwest Indiana. For more information about Liv.True mentoring check our our Liv.True Mentoring page.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.