Setting goals and learning to reach them through mentoring

“When I’m an adult, I want to mentor kids. It can really help someone my age learn new things.”

As a sixth grader last year, Kalil Diggs was rowdy and a little unsettled at school. A year later, while still a rambunctious and lively student, he’s learned a lot about respect and how to behave in class from his mentor, Vann.

Kalil joined United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program last year, where he met Vann. “He helped me think about things differently. Mr. Vann helped me get along with my teachers and classmates,” Kalil said.

After time spent together – filled with personal conversations, friendly competitions, and educational games and lessons – Vann agreed that the changes in Kalil’s behavior were significant over the course of the year. “I think he is calmer and more adjusted to the environment. He will come in ready to have fun, but he’d follow the rules and instructions.”

Not only that, Vann has helped Kalil set goals, and they worked together to figure out how Kalil could attain them. “Kalil is considering being a video game designer when he grows up, so we looked at what he would need to do to reach that goal. And I think he saw that if he worked hard, he could do it,” Vann shared.

Vann and Kalil are entering their second year of United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program, and the two are looking forward to continuing their conversations. “We have the whole year ahead of us, and I’m excited to play games and learn new things from Mr. Vann,” Kalil said.

Vann encourages other adults to consider signing up to be a mentor with United Way. “I have a full-time job and a family, but this is important to me. Kids in our community need positive role models to look to for guidance,” Vann said.

To sign up to be a mentor with United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program, visit www.uwswpa.org/be-a-middle-school-mentor/.

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