Doug and Sarvesh
Doug has mentored four boys in his 16 years mentoring with GBF, beginning in 2000 when he still was parenting his own teenage son. Doug has instituted joint silent reading time with his mentees, helped coach one mentee family on immigration options when their work visa expired, encouraged and transported another mentee to a college preview class to explore college level classes, ordered and organized a dumpster clean up with a family dealing with rodent infestation. He goes above and beyond to make sure he connects not only with his mentee, but with their family as well.
I think Doug says it better than I could in his self reflection on the role mentoring has had in his life. “As a mentor to young Vermonters for the past 16 years, I have had opportunity to become a small (but hopefully influential) part of the lives of four boys…three of whom are now young adults making independent lives for themselves. My current mentee (my fourth) and I have made it a point to give back to the community by periodically doing community service. Such service; from helping to build a park structure, to being part of Green Up Day, to collecting food for the Vermont Food Bank, to helping with preparations for a community celebration has brought great personal satisfaction and helped us both feel more rooted in community. Doing good by others has proven to be a wonderful gift that nurtures both the giver and the receiver…and all acts of kindness have helped to reinforce the notion that we’re all in this together as part of a larger community. In the long arc of involving ourselves in the lives of young Vermonters, it is seldom we take the opportunity to step back and reflect on just why we mentor others…to be reminded of what I too take away from the relationship; how my own quality of life is improved by sharing it with a young person. This clearly is a reciprocal relationship that nurtures both the mentor and the mentee and, hopefully, leads to greater resilience, greater compassion, and greater understanding on the part of both. Mentoring has made me a better person!”
Additionally, Doug is involved on the GBF sustainability board, writing grants, designing power point programs and slide shows, speaking to groups about the benefits of mentoring and helping to recruit new mentors. He is just about the best mentor and mentoring poster child a program could ever want.