“Middle school is such an important crossroads in a child’s life, and anything we can do to help them choose the right path is just awesome.”
Patricia and Albert Mitchell share a strong passion for giving back to the community they call home. Together since 1985, this dynamic duo raised four successful sons and opened their hearts as foster parents. As retirement approached, they felt a need to do more. That’s when they found United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program.
After five years of mentoring, the couple has an abundance of memories. One memory that stands out for Patricia takes her back to a mentee much like her younger self.
“This young lady would say the most outlandish things, just to get a reaction of the mentors,” Patricia recalled. “So one day I did the same – gave her an honest answer – and she turned about fifty shades of red! By the end of that year we were talking every session.”
Albert will never forget teaming up with a friend and co-mentor, Bruce, to transform the lives of a group of young men who were causing some trouble at school.
“Many of these young boys had no one to rely on. After talking to them every session for the entire three years, we were able to help them redirect their energies,” Albert explained. “All of them ended up on the honor roll by the end of eighth grade.”
It’s these memories and more that keep Patricia and Albert coming back to guide children through whatever life happens to be handing them. “The most important thing is to stay open,” Patricia shared. “Mentoring is not a place to judge, but a place to help others and demonstrate that there is always someone out there who can help.”
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.