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Chance to Advance Mentor Reflects on the Importance of Mentorship

“My name is Thomas T. Mentoring to me is all about making a difference. When I was growing up in the 60s, the youngest of three, my brother was in Vietnam most of that time, and I really didn’t have anyone to look up to at home. I was bullied at school and wasn’t good at sports. I remember that feeling of feeling alone. This is why I believe in mentoring kids.  I retired in 2013, and my kids are grown. I decided I wanted to mentor.

I was volunteering at Stony Brook Hospital in pediatrics. The morning I was interviewed by EAC Network I volunteered at Stony Brook that same afternoon. I met my mentee, who is 6 years old, in the hospital. He was a very sick boy.   He was covered with flea bites, malnourished, and had pneumonia. He was very angry but we hit it off right from the start. He had no one visiting him. I went to visit him every day for almost five weeks until he was placed in a new foster home. When I visited him he would take his medicine and eat for me. During the time when he was being placed in the new foster home, EAC Network accepted him into their Chance to Advance program. When I went to the new foster home my mentee was so excited to see me and ran up and gave me a great big hug. It was the greatest feeling in the world for me. I truly believe we were put together for a reason, no coincidences. I believe your childhood molds the rest of your life, and I am blessed to help this boy grow into a fine young man.”

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