A Mentor Story
A Mentor Story: Larry and Jovany
By Rachel Lopez
Sitting at table next to each other, just outside of Affinity’s Mentor Center at Burton Elementary School, is Jovany and Larry. Although they might be from different backgrounds, generations, and zip codes, they are brought together by their love for learning, geography, and playing Yahtzee.
Excitedly, Jovany shakes his dice and rolls them across the table. Larry cheers him on as he tallies his score. Yahtzee! Jovany wins!
Every week 5th grader, Jovany, meets with his mentor, Larry, to play games (like Yahtzee), read new books, and learn about new places just as they have for the past 3 years.
“Jovany is really, really smart. He doesn’t need help with homework,” explains Larry. So instead Larry challenges him by teaching him new vocabulary, finding new places on the map, and reading bigger chapter books.
Jovany sees mentoring as “extend[ed] classroom learning.” A phrase that encompasses his own passion for learning and Larry’s aptitude for teaching. He believes “mentors help you learn in a fun, new way.”
The last book they read together was “Courage,” a story about a boy who was known as coward and on his adventure he learned to be brave. Not only did he find his new favorite book, but Jovany also earned a vanilla-cream cookie. One of the highlights of reading together in the Mentor Center.
Larry smiles as he looks at Jovany, “he’s a really good kid, I mean that in every way possible.” He believes mentoring is, “a wonderful and enriching experience.” He joined as a way to give back and as an element of service, but he stays because of Jovany.