Shadows of a two children boys on street

After losing his mother at just eight years old, Joshua fell into a major depression, becoming angry, disengaged, and began struggling in school. He had numerous physical fights with peers, refused to do school work, and was uncooperative with his teachers and adoptive grandparents. After coming to VIP earlier this year, Joshua worked with his therapist to process the loss of his mother and has been showing a more positive outlook at school and at home.

While therapy has helped him mange his feelings, Joshua’s caregivers credit a large part of his success to participating in VIP’s mentoring program. For many of the children at VIP, a mentor can become one of the few strong role models and sources of stability in their lives; for Joshua, that person was Reza.

Through his mentorship with Reza, Joshua has found a strong and supportive presence in his life. Reza has become more than just a mentor, but a friend that Joshua can turn to for advice, ask questions, relax, have fun with and just be a kid again. Since being matched together, they have gone on a number of outings that include hiking, trying new foods, going to the movies, and even paddle boating! Through these experiences, Joshua has been able to create new memories that will give him the confidence to move forward and live a healthy, happy life.

And while the experience has been influential for Joshua and his healing process, the mentoring program has also had a meaningful impact on Reza. The experience has been of personal importance to Reza, as it has given him a chance to make some of the more memorable experiences of his own childhood happen for someone who may not have the opportunity to do the same things. He also likes being able to share his own thoughts and experiences he has had in his life in order to help Joshua learn something new, hear a different perspective, and exchange ideas. Reza has genuinely enjoyed the process of getting to know Joshua, realizing that some of the most impactful moments together are the times between activities, whether it be while eating lunch or driving in the car; these quieter moments when both are able to reflect and have deeper conversations. “These are the times” says Reza, “that Joshua really opens up and confides in me.”

The idea of mentoring can feel intimidating, but it’s as easy as having a meaningful conversation with someone. For anyone who might be interested but on the fence about joining the VIP mentoring program, Reza would tell you “to consider your childhood and the memories of fun, formative experiences you had growing up. If you can remember those memories fondly and have an interest in making them happen for another child, you should definitely consider it!”

If you are interested in learning more about the VIP Mentoring program, please contact Manny Caro at volunteer@vip-cmhc.org.