A Mentor Impact Story
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jorden faced challenges that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. Having been evicted when he was only 8 years old, Jorden’s family was forced to move to a shelter. On top of that, Jorden was bullied in school, called names, and pressured into acts of vandalism that he knew weren’t right and didn’t want to do.
Because of all of this, Jorden’s mother described her son as having severe social anxiety, afraid to even go outside for any reason. He rarely left the house and never socialized with kids his own age. Jorden felt isolated and alone, until he met his mentor, Raymont.
Raymont (Ray) was introduced to Jorden through the Leadership Foundations’ mentoring program site in Pittsburgh: Amachi Pittsburgh. Ray had never been a mentor before, but a staff member and friend suggested he try it out. Ray was a magnet for kids–bubbling with energy, relatable, and fun. Kids just seemed to flock to Ray.
Ray began mentoring Jorden on December 3, 2021. Given what he had heard about Jorden’s social anxiety, Ray made an effort to always plan activities outside. He’d take Jorden to restaurants, movies, the gym. Over time, Jorden began to feel more and more comfortable outside, and really enjoyed being active. Ray even has an upcoming hike planned with Jorden with some other kids so he can get more comfortable around people his own age.
These days, Ray and Jorden are “two peas in a pod.” During a recent time together, Jorden told Ray that he was “the best big brother he’s ever had.” Ray and Jorden talk often about school, his family relationships, and his interests.
Ray has learned that you have to earn your place in a child’s life. It wasn’t easy at first, but he’s glad he stuck with it. “Being a mentor is impactful in the way that it forces you to be a man of your word. Even if there’s something you don’t want to do, it always ends up great.”
Ray says that he’s never had a bad time with Jorden. In fact, he thinks he’s learned just as much from his mentee as he’s been able to share with Jorden. Jorden introduced Ray to new things like TikTok and video games, but Ray also realized he was learning how to be fully present to his young mentee when they were together:
Ray has also learned that when Jorden asks for advice, “…you don’t always have to provide an answer immediately to show that you care.”
Jorden and Ray are both so grateful for the roles they play in each other’s lives. Together, they are just one example of the transformative power that a mentoring relationship can have.
To learn more about Leadership Foundations’ national mentoring network, and how you can help more kids like Jorden receive a caring adult mentor like Ray, visit: https://leadershipfoundations.org/youth.