The Mentor UP Experience
When a boy arrives at a weekly Mentor UP meeting he will find other boys like him, who don’t have their father living in their home. He’ll also find a group of caring men who have volunteered their evening to spend time with him and the other boys. Those men will have been carefully chosen based on their Christian faith and practice and will have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI and the Department of Justice through the Live Scan process.
After everyone arrives, the Lead Mentor will ask if one of the boys would like to say Grace before the meal. After prayer, the men and boys will enjoy a meal together—pizza, tacos, chicken or some other tasty fare. That usually takes about 30 minutes. After the meal everyone will go outside, weather and sunlight permitting, and play sports and games for about an hour. Whether it’s wiffleball, basketball, dodgeball, soccer, frisbee or football, the men and boys will have a great time and get some fun exercise. When it’s raining or too dark outside, the group will stay inside and play boardgames, like chess, checkers, dominoes, UNO, Jenga or Scrabble. Whether indoors or outdoors, boys having fun with each other and the mentors is what this time all about.
In addition to having fun, the boys will develop sports skills that will help them at school and other social settings where they might feel awkward. The mentors will coach the boys, but most of all provide encouragement and teach them sportsmanship and fair play by instruction as well as example.
After game time is done, everyone gets some water and settles down for the lesson time. One of the mentors will talk about a character trait, like honesty, loyalty or truthfulness, or about a challenge the boys face, like bullying or peer pressure, or a spiritual principle, like God’s love for each person. He will often use Biblical stories and texts, which the boys can read out loud for the group if they wish, as well as his own life experiences. The mentor will encourage the boys to participate by asking questions or offering their opinions and personal experiences. After the lesson ends, goodbyes and high fives all around until next week!