In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we will not have our customary Mentor of the Month. Instead, Be A Mentor will be featuring a mentor each week on our blog who exemplifies the weekly theme. The first week is themed "Encouraging Smart Choices," and we chose Andrew Collins. Andrew is a mentor to Brianna at CYDC.
Before meeting Andrew, Brianna was frustrated by math assignments and angry with herself because she could not figure them out. She did not want to be the kid asking “dumb” questions. Andrew’s approach to mentoring was to make sure Brianna knew that he did not care so much about her homework answers as long as she began to understand the concepts. In their first session he said to her “I don’t want you to demonstrate your results. Instead, take pride in the questions, especially the ‘dumb’ ones.”
He taught her to steer away from focusing on the result and getting upset, and to learn how to apply the overall concepts. “By accepting how her mind can process the overall concept she has opened up and is far more willing to try without fear of being judged. Brianna has opened up and no longer seems afraid of math,” said Andrew.
This new outlook paid off within their first meeting. Andrew’s favorite memory with Brianna is when she finally understood the concept they were working on. “Her eyes widened when she saw the big picture and realized it's all the same just with different variables, numbers and results,” he said.
Andrew is also helping his mentee look past high school. Brianna has dreams of being a nurse, but because she did not know how to accomplish her goal she was feeling defeated. Andrew researched and compiled a list of the nursing programs in South Carolina, as well as, all high school courses and steps she would need to take to get into the programs. “Seeing Brianna get excited when she realized her dream was obtainable made this whole experience worth every second,” he said his experience mentoring.
Brianna turns 15 this month, and Andrew hopes that she gets her dream quinceañera. He also hopes that he can continue to show her that education can be fun, and that leaning is nothing but a step towards success and becoming “the best nurse the world has ever seen!”