National Mentoring Month – A Story of Two Lives Transformed

Jan 12, 2016

I became a mentor because I wanted to assist families in my community.  I became a mentor because I grew up looking up to some wonderful adult role models.  I became a mentor because I wanted to volunteer in a way that made an impact in the long run.

I did not become a member because I thought a 9-year old from a different culture would have anything to teach me.  And yet, that is exactly what happened.



Through the program and interaction with my mentee, I have learned more about myself, my beliefs, and my values, than I ever could have imagined.  I have been faced with “teaching moments” – how to explain humility to a 9-year old, without using the word “humility.”  I have learned patience – my mentee did not warm up right away, and yet now greets me with hugs.  I learned that there are things you can’t explain (politics), assurances you cannot make (the North Pole may or may not melt due to climate change), and situations you cannot change (death in the family).

I have learned that this is my purpose. 

There is a smaller someone who depends on me to be there.  While it’s always more fun to be learning through activities (trips to the zoo, museums, etc.), we do have low-key moments when we’re watching a movie and we giggle at the same funny scene.  In that moment, I am reassured that I am doing all those things I set out to do as a mentor. And that is what mentoring gave ME.

This story was submitted by mentor Kathryn Grandstaff-Radford.

We are a community of people “learning together to love our neighbors as ourselves” in a Latino neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia.

As a faith-based Christian non-profit with a small staff and over 100 volunteers, we serve alongside more than 100 families and their children (1st-12th grades) each week through our community programs.

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Our relational network of volunteers and donors reflects a diverse group of individuals from all over the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a non-profit, we rely on the community for assisting program directors on-site, being mentors, supplying the needs of our food pantry, and everything in between. Each member of our Casa community holds a unique gift, whether time, talent or treasure.