I work with ConnectFor and therefore, it goes without saying that I believe in the power of volunteering and the impact one can make simply by giving away their time to someone else. A few months ago, I found myself searching for a way that I could make difference. My problem was that I had too many choices, given where I worked and what I did. After some deliberation, I decided to choose to mentor with an organization called Mentor Together. I was determined to pass on whatever I knew, to someone who would see the advice as valuable.
I was assigned my mentee, Savita, through the organization. She is a few years younger than me and is studying Economics. I had this pre-concieved notion that I would be the kind of multi-faceted mentor that moonlights as a friend, a teacher, a counsellor and a guide. Easy peesy.
However, when it came down to actually meeting her, I was nervous. Unsure of what to do or say, I questioned why on earth someone would trust me? Would I be able to give her the right kind of advice and guidance even though I did not know her well at all? Our lives had nothing in common. How could I possibly be the right person to play the role of her friend?
All this changed during my first session with Savita. She was open and friendly with me, sharing her concerns and never hesitating to ask for help with her upcoming exams. I left that meeting marvelling at how similar Savita and I were. Despite the fact that we come from different walks of live, the issues that bothered me when I was 19 are the same ones that plague her right now. I was surprised by how easily I could communicate with her. Over the course of the next few weeks, I started to see that she trusted me more now. I felt the same about her. It was a mutually satisfying friendship.
During the last 3 months, I would like to think that there were points of time when I was a friend, a teacher, a guide and a role model to Savita. But I would be lying if I told you that she hadn’t been those very things to me too. Once again, I get this warm feeling in my heart, knowing that volunteering has opened my heart and mind. This feeling brings with it the pride that I play a small part in connecting people to these experiences, time and again.
Maniti Modi works at ConnectFor and absolutely adores her mentee, Savita. Savita lives in Worli and loves working with children.
If you’re interested in mentoring, or volunteering in any other way, please visit www.connectfor.org