10 Years, 10 Stories: Overcoming grief with a little help from a mentor
“If my mentor wouldn’t have been there for me, I don’t know where I would be today. I opened my wings with her.”
At age 11, Jahane witnessed her grandmother’s murder. With grief weighing on her, Jahane struggled with going to school, confidence and reading. She shut down.
“My grandmother was my support system throughout the beginning years of my education, so when she was no longer with me, I faced a difficult challenge to find a new role model,” Jahane said.
When she reached sixth grade at Pittsburgh South Hills 6-8, Jahane entered United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program and met a woman would change her life: Susan Stauber. However, it wasn’t all easy from the beginning. Jahane would sit in silence as Susan talked, but her mentor was not about to give up.
“Susan didn’t think I was paying attention to her,” Jahane reflected. “But I was, and I started talking more. Just her being there made all the difference. She never stopped coming back for me.”
Their relationship grew stronger and helped Jahane learn to open up, practice valuable reading skills, appreciate the importance of school attendance and, most importantly, not to give up on herself.
Jahane has since graduated from high school and attended beauty school. Her relationship with Susan continues, meeting for lunch and chatting on the phone often.
United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is honored to celebrate 10 impactful years of our Be a Middle School Mentor program. You can make a difference for local kids by becoming a mentor today.