Troy comes from a home with barely enough food on the table. His clothes are hand-me-downs, which are raggedy looking at best. His Dad has been in jail since he was two and his Mom works two jobs to make ends meet.
Troy has been matched to his mentor Carl for almost two years. Carl is a gentle-spirited, faithful mentor who has had a huge impact on Troy. Troy feels valued and loved.
When Troy’s Area Director arrived for a visit, Troy had his baseball cap on and his mitt in hand. Since he lives across the street from a schoolyard, the two went to have a game of catch.
While throwing the ball back and forth Troy was repeatedly distracted by something on the ground. He finally called his Area Director over to show him what it was. He began to pick up change that someone had dropped. He kept finding more as he kicked the dirt around. By the time Troy was finished, he had collected six quarters. The coins must have been there for quite a while because they were caked with dirt. That did not seem to matter to Troy, who saw past the dirt and scooped up what he thought was a fortune.
Many people besides Troy must have passed by those quarters. Some may have walked by without noticing them, while others may have seen the coins, but did not think it worth the effort to pick them up and clean them off.
The reality is that most of society walks by these children without even noticing them. Others pass by and do not think that these children are worth the time to pick up and clean off. But not Troy’s friend Carl. He has allowed God to search his heart to make time for Troy.
Carl sees past the dirt of Troy’s circumstances as he meets with him weekly. Carl once commented, “Troy’s poor father does not know what he is missing.” God’s obedient servant Carl is able to see the value in what Jesus called ‘the least of these.’
The Matching Process:
In the One-to-One program, fatherless or motherless children are referred to Long Island Youth Mentoring through a network of both public and private agencies. Once referred, the child and the family are interviewed to determine if the child is appropriate to be matched. If so, we then prayerfully seek to match him or her with a Christian adult whom we have also interviewed, screened and trained through our orientation program. It is important to note that both the child and his/her guardian must desire to establish this mentoring relationship.
Mentors and assigned youths spend 2 – 4 hours together each week for one year, doing things they enjoy. Both are given an Area Director who supports, encourages and offers any necessary assistance. Youth Mentoring also plans many activities that help to build the relationship between the child and mentor by providing common-shared experiences that build a foundation for their friendship and provide fun memories. It is our hope that the child will experience God’s love through the mentor and choose to embrace the source of that love, Jesus Christ.
*The names of children and families have been changed to protect their privacy. Photographs are for illustration only and are not connected with any of the names or stories.