10 Years, 10 Stories: Creating a community of mentors
Nearly 3,000 local students have been matched with a mentor since 2009.
Sheryl Silverman is a mom on a mission: a never-ending quest to find a mentor for every child who wants one. In the last five years, Sheryl has made progress towards that goal by recruiting a dozen mentors for United Way’s Be A Middle School Mentor (BAMSM) program.
When the youngest of Sheryl’s four boys entered first grade, she looked for a way to immerse herself in the larger community outside of her suburban circle. An active volunteer for the United Jewish Federation, Sheryl learned about Be a Middle School Mentor and knew that it was just the opportunity she was looking for. “For an hour a week, I get to be a friend to a young woman. I can be the person who is consistently there for her, helping her shape her future,” she explained.
After her first year as a mentor, Sheryl recruited her husband to join her. A business owner, he was reluctant, thinking he didn’t have the time. Sheryl persisted, “It’s a very manageable commitment – just an hour a week! We start in October and end in May. And the school year flies by!” And now her husband is starting his fourth year with the program, working with his third BAMSM mentee.
“I approach people everywhere – at the gym and at my synagogue – and recruit them to be mentors. Everyone has one hour a week to make our community a better place to live and work,” shared Sheryl. “You can be someone who can tell a child he/she is amazing. You can help them see that there are great things ahead. You can help a student reach his/her future goal.”
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.