The Mentor of the month for April is Lyle Wilson! Lyle and his mentee John have one of the longest-running matches in our program, having just surpassed the four-year mark! John is one of our oldest kids and in April turned 18. Lyle was there to celebrate this milestone with John and even help him plan the festivities. In April, Lyle continued to be instrumental in helping John maneuver the struggles of high school life by remaining the supportive yet openly honest person that John needs. Lyle has recognized the growth in John and their relationship together and makes sure that the two use mentoring for the biggest greatest challenge of all: preparing for adulthood. A tough task, no doubt, but we’re happy John has Lyle to help make the transition!
There was a time when my mentee was “sorta in” and “sorta out” of the system. Then his family experienced another chapter in their saga of instability and dysfunction, and my mentee found himself 15 years old and “sorta” on the streets with no permanent place to stay and with no support for food, money to get to school, or supervision. He started not going to school and got picked up by a truancy officer. This was good and got him headed in a much better place. Part of that process was the court. My fondest memory was being in the court room with some Best Kids staff to see a judge. The judge asked me how long I would be committed to being a mentor. I told the judge that until my mentee or the court told me to stop, I would be there for my mentee.
- Which was your favorite Peer Group?
I don’t have a favorite peer group. It is my only time I get to be with the larger Best Kids community and I always enjoy hanging with the group.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming your mentee’s mentor?
I think it’s been the need to “just be there” when I can’t solve my mentee’s basic life needs. I’ve been attempting to help him transition from adolescence to adulthood. As we know, this is extremely difficult for almost everyone on the planet from the beginning of time. This is much more difficult for someone with significant education gaps, serious emotional scars, and who has never had a consistent hand helping create self discipline or showing them by their own example how to live and be successful.
- What is your current job/career and what is something you enjoy about your work?
I am a software engineer, (aka software developer). I love learning and am always learning something new.
- What are some of your hobbies/things you like to do in your free time?
My major hobby is learning. I am always reading and studying something. After that, spending time with family (I have four children and 10 grandchildren), mentoring, and I do other volunteer work. I support a food program to feed children around the world called Stop Hunger Now, and I have recently started working with a disaster support organization called Hope Force that provides immediate and long term assistance for people have suffered serious catastrophe.
- What’s your favorite food?