Ask Lynn Collins who her personal mentors are and she won’t throw out names most people would recognize. No Oprah or Ghandi, Madonna or Bill Gates. Instead, this Hull Child and Family Service Mentor Specialist will share a long list of friends, coaches, professors, colleagues and employers. Lynn
says that mentors are people who touch your life, whether for a short or long
time, that change the way you think, open your mind and provide support and
Three years into a job that she loves, Lynn is motivated by volunteers. She
explains, “The people who come in to be mentors are probably the best people
you’ll ever meet. And they come from all different environments and personal circumstances.” One young woman comes to mind immediately….a
16 year old IB student who has diligently shared her gift for music every week
with at risk youth for the past two years. Lynn says that there is such an incredible combination of people who had mentors growing up and want to pay it forward and people who perhaps lacked mentorship and now, as adults, understand what that may have meant to their lives. What do they all have in common? Good hearts and a little bit of time.
I asked Lynn how volunteers come in to Hull Services.
She explained that getting people to volunteer isn’t really a hard sell. The most successful mentors come from a place of desire to help. Her job is to inform and provide the best environment possible for new and existing volunteers.
The goal of a volunteer mentor is not primarily to feel appreciated or that they are making a difference…but it sure helps. Lynn shared the story of volunteer mentor, Harold. Harold’s mentee was a young man who was quiet and a bit aloof. Consistently, every Tuesday, Harold and his mentee spent time together in a number of activities. The young man rarely seemed interested in the
time they shared, and certainly never expressed gratitude. Before long, his mother announced they were moving. The closer Harold and his mentee
got to the formal end of their friendship, the more Harold felt that he might
experience more of a connection. Then came their last Tuesday together. As
they parted ways that evening, Harold told his young mentee how much he enjoyed their time together and would be sad for it to end. No longer expecting any reciprocation, Harold was delighted and moved when the young man declared; “Well, we’re not leaving until Thursday!”
Hull Services is an original member of Alberta Mentoring
Partnership. Lynn shared her appreciation on behalf of the kids and families supported by mentoring. Not for profit or Government run social service agencies are so often limited by time and funding. AMP has provided tangible subsidy to the existing work by more than 80 mentoring organizations in the Province of Alberta; allowing for the elevation of the mentoring movement and participation of volunteer mentors as well as children and families who can benefit from additional support. Since November, 60 new volunteer mentors have become better prepared for mentoring through AMP’s online training. The research, materials and tools all provide valuable additions to existing work and fill gaps where work has not yet been possible at an organizational level.
Finally, I asked if she had one wish for the children and youth served at Hull CFS, what would it be?
Lynn responded, “That every one of them would have a mentor.”
Lynn Collins is the Mentors Specialist at Hull Services.
For more information on the good work happening in Hull, go to www.hullservices.ca.