This eight week commitment to our students ends with a graduation ceremony at which the mentors gift their students with an inspiring quotation to once again empower them to move forward to a better tomorrow.
Our professional volunteers come to us from all walks of life. We have educators, business owners; retired professionals; financial planners; real estate agents; stay at home moms; and the list goes on.
What keeps them coming back? Two things: Most importantly, the kids! Second, the opportunity to share of themselves and their experiences and speak words of hope into the lost hearts; the ability to share, care, listen, and love.
Most mentors say they get more from the kids than they give. But Reaching Higher says our only as strong as your instructors and mentors.
Let’s briefly step into the lives of just two of our mentors, Lisa Masters and Aleia Jackson, for their perspectives on their experiences with Reaching Higher:
This spring will be my fourth semester as a mentor with Reaching Higher. I am so blessed to be part of a program that instills personal confidence and promotes student success. Mentoring the students has meant the world to me. When one of my more challenging students mouthed the words “Thank you” to me during his graduation ceremony, I realized I am where I need to be and will continue to inspire these kids as long as they will allow me to do so. Reaching Higher is a gift to me and I am so pleased to be able to pass it along to the wonderful kids involved. –Lisa Masters
Reaching Higher has touched me in many ways. I think some of the best moments I have had have been when I share my story with the children. Everyone has a story and sometimes sharing that story gives hope to the youth that they can also make something of themselves by knowing you have struggled and made something of yourself. Having students come up to me and say that I made a difference in their lives, is the best reward I can get from Reaching Higher. To know I may be the one person that breathed life into that child or gave them the inspiration they needed to move closer to their goals and dreams is something I have never found outside of Reaching Higher.
Reaching Higher has also helped me personally by going through the program with the kids. As mentors, we set goals when the students set goals and we work on ourselves, just as the kids do. My first year of Reaching Higher, I set a goal to lose 5 pounds. I was at about 200 pounds with cholesterol over 300 at age 32. I wasn’t taking care of myself as much as I needed to and through the program, I continued pursuing the goal of getting healthy. Each semester when it was time to set goals, I set my personal goal towards my health. At 34, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and dropped over 100 points on my cholesterol – I’ve never felt happier in my life. In addition to personal goals, we set business goals and relationship goals. I’ve met almost all of my goals and still work towards the ones I’ve yet to achieve. My life has been turned around romantically too. I think the experience of Reaching Higher allowed me to break through some of my own pain and past hurt to allow me to love myself and to BE loved. Now I am engaged to be married to my best friend and couldn’t possibly be happier in this moment. I truly thank Reaching Higher for not only allowing me to help others, but to help myself. –Aleia Jackson
Reaching Higher continues to be blessed by these amazing role models that bring integrity, morals, and values into the classroom. I love this quote: “What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can do something wonderful.” –Mother Teresa