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Mentoring in Moab COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 has changed our world. Schools are closed. Public gatherings are no-nos. Stress and anxiety levels rise. In-person mentoring has been suspended almost everywhere. This leaves many youth across the country without crucial regular support. At-risk populations living in poverty find themselves particularly unstable at this time.

Grand Area Mentoring has responded by asking its dedicated corps to begin virtual mentoring. Mentors are now reaching out via email, text, telephone, and video chat. As we are now learning, virtual meetings can provide many of the social benefits we need – practical assistance, joy, commiseration, humor, and camaraderie. One mentor kicked off an email conversation with:

Hola A,
I am missing you and your warm, beautiful smile, so I thought I would check out some old photos I have of you doing fun things during mentoring [attached]. Warms my heart️, but nothing
beats seeing you in person. Let me know how you are doing and how you have been spending your days. Take good care.
Love & hugs

Mentors are also connecting with mentees via Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime. Retired principal Mimi Trudeau helped Grand Area Mentoring create a video chat activity list, which includes: scattergories, twenty questions, memory challenges, alphabet games, reading books, sharing videos, writing stories, and tutoring. If electronic means aren’t working, some mentors have sent cards, letters, and resources through the mail.

On her efforts to connect virtually with her three mentees, a mentor wrote:

Mentors keep mentees directed, walk them through problem solving (what are some things you can do if you run out of toilet paper or tissues?) and help alleviate panic. Mentors are experienced people who have weathered hardships in life. This isn’t our first rodeo. We know how to buckle up and hang on and are ready and willing to share that information with our mentees.

Utah schools will remain closed for the duration of the 2019/2020 school year. Grand Area Mentoring will follow their lead and not return to in-person mentoring until safe.

We are offering support to mentors and mentees throughout this pandemic. Emails and calls have kept mentors up to date. David Shapiro, CEO of the National Mentoring Partnership, recently wrote:

In confusing times, when we are enduring something for the first time, being there for each other (even if not in physical proximity), listening to individual and unique concerns, owning what we do and don’t know, and showing up in whatever way makes sense is as powerful as ever. You know that and make that a reality … The relationships you have created especially pay dividends in times like these when we need folks to lean on.

We’re all in this together. Let’s buckle up, hang on, and stick together.

        The Grand Area Mentoring Team


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