“Being vulnerable, sharing your life story and experiences, and listening to your mentee's experiences leads to mutual growth,” said Nicola Davis, Community of Hope volunteer mentor.
When she was little, Nicola Davis always wished she had more adults that were understanding to talk to. So as she became an adult, she knew she wanted to get involved with young women and really help them navigate life’s challenges.
Nicola, who is originally from South Africa, has lived in the District for four years now with her husband, Dylan. Somewhere she read this phrase, “Be the mentor you needed when you were young.” It resonated strongly with her because she had always craved a good mentor relationship both in her personal life and in her professional career. “It’s not always easy to find those kinds of relationships unless there are people willing to sacrifice their time and wisdom.” When her friend who works at Community of Hope told her about the organization’s mentoring program, her interest was doubly confirmed. “I jumped on the chance and haven’t looked back.”
Nicola and her mentee, Shakayla, have been matched for little over a year and remain consistent with meeting every two weeks. Together they go to the library to work on homework, hiking, to the mall, and occasionally visit restaurants to try exciting new foods. They talk about situations that happened during their time apart, how they handled those moments, or plan how to handle an upcoming situation. “I have also just enjoyed being a friend to Shakayla and her being a friend to me. We hold ourselves accountable to goals we want to achieve and it helps us both to grow.”
Nicola shared that she was never 100% confident that what she had to contribute as a mentor was good enough. But, by getting to know her mentee, she realized that it can be beneficial at the most simple levels – like getting out of the house to have fun over summer vacation. And it goes to deeper levels like working up the courage to tell the truth about something important or learning to listen to that little voice in yourself that tells you what is right. Nicola understands the importance of mentoring programs and encourages others to get involved.
“You don't have to be a perfect person, or even have everything sorted out in your own life,” she said. “If you have capacity and love to share, a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear with a guiding hand – it can go a long way to helping a kid make good choices.”
Please click here to learn more about our mentoring program and how you can get involved.