"What we need right now is action," says mentor Praveen Ayyagari.
In search of an opportunity to be present in his community, Praveen met Community of Hope's volunteer manager, Lauren Cranman, who informed him that there are many young people who have experienced homelessness and are looking for a mentor to support them along their journey to a hope-filled future.
Three years later, Praveen has committed his time as a mentor at Community of Hope—a position that has changed him and the youth he works with. When asked what drew him to mentoring, Praveen shared that he believes he spent most of his life immature, lacking confidence, and doing what others around him were doing in search of acceptance. It was not until he directed his intentions toward identifying what brought him the most joy that Praveen realized how he could do that with others.
“Every time I can make my mentee smile, that's an accomplishment to me,” says Praveen.
What Praveen enjoys the most in his time mentoring is creating space for his mentee to feel safe expressing himself. "We are still building a relationship and building trust, but I think we've made some good progress on that front," he said.
Praveen believes mentoring contributes to repairing the fabric of human connection. “Stepping into a person's life that is different from your own, you may not initially feel equipped with the tools to understand their perspectives but choosing to connect with that life will shape how you relate to the world,” a feeling that Praveen said he will take with him forever.
Praveen encourages anyone considering becoming a mentor not to question their ability to support a mentee. “Mentoring will enrich your life and your mentee's life in ways you could never imagine,” he says. “That has had such an impact on me – something that I will take with me forever and will shape the decisions I make in the future and how I treat others.”
Thank you, Praveen, for the time and energy you have put into supporting not only the growth of your mentee but also in yourself. We appreciate you!
Becoming a mentor is just one of the ways to volunteer at Community of Hope. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and the eligibility criteria, you can check out our FAQ page or email us at email@example.com.