Back to School: Meeting the Mentees

It was an early Saturday morning for the 33 high school students on September 22, 2012: the first Minds Matter session of the new school year. The wide-eyed mentees seemed reinvigorated after eventful summer college programs and were ready to be introduced to or reunited with their co-mentors. Program announcements kicked off the day, and mentors and mentees eventually found each other.

To facilitate getting to know one another, a series of entertaining ice-breakers ensued. One game involved not speaking for five minutes, and using sign language to line up by birthday around the room. Once allowed to speak again, everyone realized how difficult the task was when people found themselves egregiously out of order.

Sharing laughs, everyone introduced themselves by stating where they went to school or currently worked, and the Minds Matter community began to familiarize.

Progressing around the room, when asked about his birthday, mentee Ronald Chan announced that it was today! Surprised by the coincidence of his birthday falling on the first day back, everyone in the circle wished him a happy 16th! Chan looked forward to a day of bowling with his cousins after the session.

A few returning mentors and mentees were also invited to speak about their experiences thus far with Minds Matter. The invited speakers shared sincere reflections of how Minds Matter inspired personal development alongside academic growth. Mentees recounted enjoyable summer tales and thanked their mentors for being their friends.

Returning fourth year Minds Matter veteran Alex Grant delivered a moving speech about his involvement with the organization. "A lot of people say they wish the world could be a better place," Grant contemplated, as he looked around at his fellow volunteers. "Everyone in here is doing just that." And when the programmatic team asked the room to stand up if you had attended or want to attend college, and every single person stood up, there seemed to be added truth to Grant's assessment.