Something our society has seen as a result of this pandemic is a burst of flexibility and creativity in the ways people find to stay connected. The mentoring team at City Gospel Mission in Cincinnati is a great example. From a brainstorming session about how to connect with and bless mentors and mentees, the “Pandemic Pack” was born!
Courtney Walton, mentoring director at City Gospel, came up with the idea to engage mentoring matches with a city scavenger hunt. Her boss also approved of giving each match a gift card to get ice cream together. The matches took pictures during the scavenger hunt then sent the pictures to Courtney to be entered into a drawing for a bigger prize at the end of the month.
Please enjoy a few encouraging stories that came out of this time.
“One mentor had not been able to connect with her mentee since the start of the pandemic and was actually considering ending her time as a mentor. First the mentor ran into her mentee’s mom at the store, and that encouraged her to keep trying to connect. Then, she received the Pandemic Pack (which we personally dropped off to mentors’ doors), and she said that felt like the perfect way to reconnect. They had an awesome time! The mentor decided to continue mentoring her mentee, and she said the “Pandemic Pack” is what helped to get her back into a relationship with her mentee!”
“Another story comes from a mentor who did not feel 100% comfortable with getting together for the scavenger hunt because it would require being close in a car for a long period of time. Because the mentor was extra cautious due to not wanting to pass the virus on to his grandmother, he had not seen his mentee since February. Jenny (a staff member on my team) let him know that the scavenger hunt was optional, and that he could just give his mentee the ice cream gift card and other items in the bag. The mentor got creative and decided to take a convertible so that he could drive around with his mentee and still feel comfortable. They had an awesome time!”
Way to go, City Gospel Mission! We know many other mentoring programs are finding similar ways to stay safe but still engage with kids. They may need it now more than ever.