By: Joy Green
At one point or another in our lives, we may seek to serve others in some way, shape or form. Perhaps because I came from a large family, the eldest of five girls, now with two children of my own, I have always felt an inner desire to support and teach others. This passion has manifested itself in my career as a Transformational Speaker and Trainer, where I’ve been successful in empowering young people on the path to self-care, mental health awareness and other educational advancement opportunities. But beyond this role, I found deep fulfillment in serving as a Fulfillment Fund mentor to a young person who is striving to achieve their dreams.
My path to the Fulfillment Fund was indeed divine, in my perspective. I began my involvement with the Fulfillment Fund in 2013, simply as a runner in the Asics half marathon where I was able to raise funds for the program…I was hooked! I continued to participate, joining the 2014 Asics half marathon as a Fulfillment Fund fundraiser again.
Overall, I raised more than $2,500 which got the attention of Fulfillment Fund Board Member David Hughes, who personally took the time to share his experiences with the Fulfillment Fund and the gift of becoming a mentor in the program. In 2014 my mentee Giselle and I were matched!
When I decided to take the step to be what I thought was just another “big sister,” I truly didn’t realize the whole of what I was signing up for. Over the past years, Giselle and I have become dear friends through so many ups and downs: through my divorce, her parents’ divorce, school graduations, birthdays, loses of loved ones, 12th grade Decision Day celebration, prom and many other life changing events…with so many more to come! As a mentor, you not only learn how to best serve others (your mentee, their family and the staff at the Fulfillment Fund), but you evolve and better understand your purpose in this world.
I’ll never forget when my mother-in-law forwarded me an article from the Jewish Journal, featuring Giselle in the headline, all the way from Dallas Texas. Reading her words touched my heart, and I knew that I was a part of her journey (something greater than me). I was overjoyed. I committed to a 4-year mentor program, but I’m absolutely committed to Giselle for the rest of my time on this earth and beyond this life. My joy is watching her grow and flourish.
Now, I am excited to bring my personal and professional experiences to the Mentor Council and help the Fulfillment Fund continue to evolve and move our youth in the direction of excellence.
If there is one take away from this article, I’d like you to keep in mind that the Fulfillment Fund provides community and family support to those that need it most. There is an old saying: “It takes a village to raise a family.” This comes from a time when someone’s community was their extended family, and each person was an important influence in the lives of their neighbors’ children, helping him/her develop and grow. Our lives are based on the experiences and others we engage with, and the Fulfillment Fund engages our youth in a new community where powerful interactions can occur – which otherwise may not happen under any other circumstances. The Fulfillment Fund brings students and mentors together in a program where you both experience life changing moments that you’ll have forever.
If you’ve ever considered mentoring or even volunteering for an organization that focuses on Student excellence, I’d say “Go do it!” I’ll tell you now, you’ll get those thoughts and feelings, like “what can I offer?” or “I don’t even have kids!” or “will they even care about what I have to say?” Heck yea, it’s scary getting to know a teen these days, especially knowing the pressures they are faced with. I have a teen daughter myself, and I am scared as hell getting to know her every day! But she pushes me to evolve! And guess what, these feelings, are feelings we ALL share. I know a lot of the 60 FF mentees waiting to be placed with a mentor RIGHT NOW, feel that very same way. It’s the fear of the unknown. These student need to see the possibilities in you; I urge you to be venerable enough to take that leap!
I believe in a universal purpose; that we are all connected, and the Fulfillment Fund provides miraculous opportunities to physically establish new ones. I know that my mentee Giselle has forever changed my life and I believe I have forever changed hers. We are a part of each other’s lives forever now! I know I’m not the only mentor who feels this way. This is a theme I see and hear of often in the Fulfillment Fund, time and time again.