A Mentee Wise Beyond Her Years

January 26, 2017 – When Morgan Donovan began to look into mentoring, she was ready and willing to share her wisdom and advice with her mentee to help guide them through life. What she did not expect to find was a mentee who has wise beyond her years, and seemingly had it more together at the young age of 13 than Morgan did herself!

While entering a formal mentor program can seem daunting, Morgan was surprised at how easy the process was to become a mentor once she submitted her application. She was immediately contacted by the mentor program manager and coordinated to have a visit with her new mentee, Vanessa, so they could learn more about each other.

“She’s like your typical 13 year-old-girl,” Morgan describes. “She enjoys experimenting with makeup and nail polish, she likes dancing to music with her friends, she loves Starbucks and Alex and Ani bracelets, and she’s really into horoscopes and zodiac signs. However, Vanessa is way more mature, level-headed, and compassionate than any other 13 year-old-girl I have ever met.”

The activities Morgan and Vanessa do each week are largely based on Vanessa’s interests, and Morgan works to figure out how the two can participate in them together. As a former foster parent recruiter for the lead foster care agency in Gainesville, FL, Morgan understands that living in a group home can sometimes feel monotonous. In addition to being a listening ear, she began to see her role in Vanessa’s life shaping to be someone who made sure she was getting out of the group home for at least one afternoon every week and having fun.

Whether it’s going to the movie theater, going to Target for smoothies, or driving around to look at Christmas tree lights, Vanessa has come to love the time she spends with Morgan on the weekends. In a few months, she’ll be starting high school with the hopes of becoming a kindergarten teacher. As a graduate from the University of Florida, Morgan is looking forward to talking about higher education and exploring Vanessa’s educational options.

“Working with Vanessa has been so great!” Morgan exclaims. “If you’re going to be a mentor, then you need to be open-minded and show up. Sometimes kids just need a friend.”

With a vehement nod, Vanessa agrees. When it comes to becoming a mentor, she has just one piece of advice:

“Don’t judge us,” she requests. “Not all kids are the same.”