by Trillium Swanson
Mentor and Volunteer Coordinator at The Funhouse Commons
While the activities and common interests that mentors and mentees share are often what brings a match together, it’s their friendship that endures as a lasting asset to both child and adult. Mindy Kayl and Emalyne Babcock are a mentor-mentee pair that has built a bond around a shared love of animals, and much more. They got to know one another when Mindy led the Orcas Island Youth Conservation Corps that Emalyne worked on, during the summer of 2016. Mindy explains: “She and I had so much in common I decided to make a weekly commitment to walk my donkey together and support her 4-H projects.” After they had begun spending time together, they chose to become officially matched through The Funhouse Commons Mentor Program.
They meet up once a week, often on Mindy’s farm. “Usually we walk the donkey, as well as her dogs. And I have chickens at her house, so I visit my chickens”, shares Emalyne. They spend time working on projects and farm chores, such as the roost they built in a chicken coop a couple of months back.
Emalyne says: “It’s really fun to be able to work with the donkey and the animals. And Mindy is someone who I feel comfortable talking to about anything. She’s funny and she’s really accepting.” Having an adult you trust, outside of one’s family, can be invaluable to an adolescent. “I just know that she’ll always be there for me, and it’s kind of an escape from the stresses of everyday life”, explains Emalyne.
Mindy is there as a friend and an ear. “I really enjoy hearing what she is thinking about in life and at school. I also joke with her and love to hear her laugh”, says Mindy.
Mindy says that something people do not commonly know about mentoring is that it involves a relationship with the mentee’s family. Mindy emphasizes: “I feel it is important to foster that connection. I also feel very blessed by that connection.”
A recent adventure that the two shared is a trip to The Seattle Aquarium. “We saw all different kinds of aquatic animals. Afterward, we went to Pike Place Market for my first time”, says Emalyne. Mindy adds: “She and I have similar tastes and we both enjoyed the sights and smells of the fruit, fish, flowers and baked goods”. These memories add color and texture to Mindy and Emalyne’s already strong bond.
As for the longevity of their relationship, proposes Emalyne: “I’ll probably visit Mindy when I’m in college, so I’ll probably know her forever.”
If you would like to get involved or learn more about The Funhouse Mentor Program, contact Trillium Swanson at email@example.com.