Mentoring means just letting a kid be themselves and listening a lot, asking all sorts of questions that they may be able to figure out themselves, and maybe providing a few suggestions along the way,” said Meagan, past Humane Society Volunteer, Spin for Kids Volunteer, personal trainer and yoga teacher with Goodlife Fitness and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region Mentor.

Meagan found out about Big Brothers Big Sisters a few years ago while coming across an advertisement on TV. She has been volunteering with the In-School Mentoring program for the past year.  In-School Mentoring provides elementary students who could benefit from extra emotional, social, or academic support with a caring Mentor. In-School Mentors meet with their mentees for one hour a week during the school day.

She’s been motivated to volunteer due to the Mentors in her own life, “I had a couple of really great mentors growing up that I really appreciated, and wanted to try and pay it forward. I don’t know where I would be now without those people, and I feel that the successes I have achieved is largely due to the optimism and encouragement that I received when I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to do.”

Meagan wants to do the same by mentoring others, “it’s being who they need you to be at that time in their life, someone who won’t try to change who they are but instead looking for opportunities for them to be successful and grow from those experiences.”

“Everyone has something to offer, and I think we are stronger as a community because we have the combined experiences and support of many people.”

Meagan appreciates being a volunteer as, “Knowing that spending time with my Mentee could provide even just one experience that will help him feel confident in his own identity and abilities to succeed, and that experience could possibly be passed on to others as well.”

To anyone interested in becoming a Mentor the benefits on the Mentee are definitely a reason to volunteer. Meagan appreciates that, “it’s amazing how someone will open up to you on their own time when you give them a free, safe space to just be themselves and problems solve together.” –Meagan W. In School Mentoring Volunteer

Changing the course of young lives