In March, Kaye Negri took the plunge: She became a mentor to two Take Stock in Children students. And she hasn’t looked back since.
She mentors recent inductee Junette Desrosier, a seventh grader, and Janita Perez, a tenth grader. Mentoring a middle school student and a high school student at the same time is tricky due to the middle school’s practice of altering its lunch times once or twice each week. But Kaye is figuring out how to negotiate these schedules.
In her short time as a mentor, Kaye has been able to spend plenty of time with her mentees. For example, Kaye has attended a class presentation where Junette spoke about her native country of Haiti. And she taught Janita how to play dominoes, which Janita now plays with her five siblings. Kaye gave the girls disposable cameras so they can take pictures of their families and friends, as well as chronicle the activities that are keeping them busy this summer.
One of Kaye’s fondest moments so far happened in a mentoring session with Junette, when Kaye had the opportunity to work with the seventh grader to make a family tree. The exercise gave Kaye and Junette the chance to trade stories and to come together to complete a fun and significant task.
At the final session before the school year ended, Kaye gave the girls enough stamped and pre-addressed envelopes to write Kaye once a week throughout the summer.
“The drive to Immokalee every Tuesday is long,” Kaye says, but on the drive home she always knows “how worth it the trip was.”
“Meeting with the two girls is so uplifting,” she says.