Hope is easy to share. At least that's what Karen, a retired but still energetic administrator in Iowa discovered.
She said yes to volunteer as a mentor based on two facts: first, she had time to spend an hour every week at a local elementary school, and second, that school needed more mentors than they had the year before. Apparently, there's no shortage of students who need positive adult relationships. Clearly, this woman is well-informed.
So following the application, interview process, and training, Karen received a call from the program director that a little girl at school needed a mentor. She could start right away.
This second-grade student came to school each day wearing a downcast face and refusing to acknowledge people. Even when addressed up close and personally, she offered no response. In fact, she developed deftness at avoiding all eye contact. Instead, she feigned interest in the floor, the wall, a window. After weeks of the teacher's earnest efforts - and similar determination from various specialists - making no progress, the school principal offered a suggestion: let's request a mentor to meet with her.
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David Staal serves as the president & CEO of Kids Hope USA, a national nonprofit organization that partners local churches with elementary schools to provide mentors for at-risk students. A senior editor for Christianity Today and International and former children's ministry director, he also authored these books: