We asked Mel what made him decide to start mentoring.
“Not what,” he answered, “but who – John Blazier!” John is the founder of the Seedling Foundation and a hard man to resist when he is advocating for children.
Mel said he felt apprehensive about his first mentoring experience. “I worried about my inexperience, the fact that we were from different races, and the time commitment. My job is demanding and I never want to let a child down.”
We asked what made him proceed despite those apprehensions.
“Seedling’s 24/7 support and guidance,” he said, “and I learned to go with the Mentee’s flow. I keep games and activities with me, but Lloyd calls the shots and I always remember that it’s not what you say or do that matters…it is showing up.”
His favorite thing about mentoring?
“The relationships,” he said, “I have wonderful relationships with Lloyd, his grandmother, the school contact and my Seedling Mentor Director.”
Mel’s least favorite thing?
“The feelings of loss and guilt I get when I don’t get to see Lloyd for a week.”
“Oh yes,” he replied, “I am so much more sensitive, aware and “plugged in” in my role with AISD (Mel is the Austin ISD Chief of Staff) and spending this time with Lloyd each week grounds me as a person.”
We asked, “What is the most memorable thing Lloyd has ever said?”
Mel recounted that when Lloyd entered 8th grade, they talked about whether he wanted to continue mentoring. Lloyd told me he “wanted to continue this mentor/mentee relationship,” Mel said.
“These ten years have gone by so fast,” Mel continued, “and it was so gratifying to know it meant as much to him as it did to me.”
“So, as a 10 years and counting Mentor, what words of wisdom would you pass on to anyone who is considering mentoring with Seedling?”
“Do it,” Mel said, “Just show up.”
Start your mentoring journey with Seedling Mentor Program here.