The Cost of Mentoring

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Gareth Unruh, Assistant Director, Juvenile Justice Ministry, Denver Area YFC

When adults talk with me about mentoring for our program I share that we will prepare them for this new journey the best we can. But I never know how to prepare them for the disappointments they will experience and for the strong connection they will have with their mentee.

A recent conversation I had with one of our mentors is no exception. “Jenny,” the mentor, is working with “Marcy,” the mentee. Marcy shared with Jenny that she has dropped out of school because the school counselor called the police to have her taken to the hospital and now she doesn’t trust the school. Marcy hasn’t been home for 3 months and when she was talking with Jenny she was staying that the Spire, a downtown high rise in Denver, by herself. Both Jenny and I think that this could be a trafficking situation.

As Jenny and I continue to talk about the situation it is not our role to “fix it” but to be available and ready when Marcy will ask for help from us and to continue to build trust. Jenny continues to see Marcy on a weekly basis and talks through future, goals, and what is best for Marcy. Marcy has said she is lonely, doesn’t feel loved at home, hopeless and helpless, but when she hangs out with Jenny she feels normal.

Jenny seems to be the glue right now for Marcy and her life. Jenny is committed to the best for Marcy and prays, hopes, and encourages Marcy to make choices that are best for her. They have a long way to travel on this journey, but as we care for Jenny and helping her with healthy boundaries and taking care of her own spiritual and emotional healthy we will continue to see change for the better in Marcy’s life.

Would you consider this investment in a young person, even if it isn’t with an organization? (i.e. friend’s teenager, neighborhood kid, etc.)


This article originally appeared on and is being republished by permission.

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