Just before Thanksgiving, Dot O’Shea and Little Kate met for the first time at TJX. Dot, a Sale and Use Tax Accountant, was nervous that she would not be a good fit as a mentor for Kate, a 13 year old middle schooler, but their initial meeting was “awesome”. Now they are four weeks into their mentoring relationship. “I’m really going to get along well with her,” says Dot, “my Little said I’m not old…I’m experienced and that felt really good.”
Dot is now an involved community member, Church Deacon and a five-year-homeowner who enjoys spending her free time giving back, but her life was not always as bright as it is today. Dot describes her childhood as “not ideal”. She remembers being teased for her intellectual abilities and physical traits. She was called names like “teacher’s pet” and “nerd” throughout her younger years. Her mother died when she was a year old and she lived with her grandparents until she was four. Her father remarried when she was three, but she continued to move around living with various relatives before finally settling in Rhode Island with her father and step-mother. During this time Dot remembers her father being in the Navy and overseas a lot. However, in her teens, her widowed father divorced, and they began to finally build a relationship. Dot went to Catholic school for 12 years, proceeded on to college and then dropped out to get married, only to find she was going to go through a divorce. Dot says that her life experiences have made her somewhat socially awkward and sometimes uncomfortable around people. A self-described introvert, she says that one thing Kate and her share is the dislike for large social settings. They’re comfortable being with each other and only each other.
For Dot, her relationship with Kate is an exciting new experience. Dot has found she’s compatible with Kate, despite their age difference, and she hopes Kate knows she will be there. She wants to be a supportive, caring, and nonjudgmental mentor for Kate. At her core, Dot works exceptionally hard to give back to her community, which led her to her relationship with Kate. “BBBS CM/MW is a great organization,” says Dot, “I would recommend a formal mentoring relationship to anyone who wants to make their community better.”
The friendship between Dot and Kate shows the beginning effects of a mentoring relationship. “I know we’re still in the honeymoon phase,” says Dot, “but, I want to stay matched with her for as long as she wants me around.” At BBBS CM/MW, we ask for a one year commitment, and yet only four weeks into her relationship, Dot is thinking of extending her tenure at the agency. It’s amazing how quickly mentoring relationships begin to change lives.
For more information on how to become a volunteer mentor with BBBS CM/MW, check out: http://bbbscm.org/faqs
“If you have the time and are able to help your community be a better place, then you have the responsibility to do so.” – Dot O’Shea