For Nancy, mentoring children has brought a fulfillment rarely found in other pursuits. There are few things better in life, she thinks, than watching a child glow as self-esteem and confidence builds or as the child experiences moments of pure joy that may have been few and far between in life.
United Way Oxford is committed to providing kids with the opportunities they need to reach their full potential. To do so, children and youth require supports to thrive as they transition to adulthood. Volunteers and various mentoring programs provide this through Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization supported by United Way Oxford. Through donors and the efforts of Nancy and so many other volunteers, we are providing kids with the opportunities they need to reach their full potential.
Thirteen years ago Nancy’s husband, Harold, began mentoring a boy named Justin. Due to the loss of his father at a young age, Justin had missed out on many opportunities to be a kid and have fun.
Nancy and her husband chose to be intentional about their family time by including Justin in their activities. Together they tobogganed, carved pumpkins, picked apples, biked and played board games. Every one of them anticipated their time together with excitement. The impact of this time together was more than they expected. Nancy’s children looked up to Justin which gave him a role to fill and a place within this mentoring family. Overall, these experiences gave Justin an understanding of “what other families live and do…he got another family, good friends and a support system. And a lot of fun,” says Nancy. “He needed us, we needed him.”
After Justin turned 18, he and Nancy’s family stayed in touch on special occasions and recently reconnected to meet his young family. He is thriving in both his family and community life. By working together, kids can reach their full potential as they transition to adulthood.
“You can develop lasting, lifelong relationships,” says Nancy. “Everybody can use a friend. Everybody could use somebody when they need help. For me, it’s an incredible way to spend an hour a week. It’s a life-changing activity to be part of.”