Nik @ Noon

Gossip and Grilled Cheese, anyone?

Pop Open the Vino… January 23, 2009

Filed under: Life Happenings,Mentor Mania — nikatnoon @ 2:33 pm
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Is it 5 0’clock yet, Party Peeps? Sheesh what a day! TGIF because I definitely need the weekend to recover from the crazy day I have had so far. I spent the morning dealing with PayPal and my Bank, and Paypal again..and my Bank again after realizing that my checking acct was AGAIN hacked by ugly, dirty, creepy thieves!  Stop taking my money and get a stinking job you crazy sons of a….! I’m taking a deep breath now. 1.2.3.4. Okay. I’m good. After all the talk of disputed transactions and unauthorized charges and blahbitty blah blah blah, I had a nice chat with my Grandma. She always has a way of making you feel better, no matter what the issue. So, I signed the investigation affidavit to get my charges reversed, sent them off and made a promise to myself to not let it ruin my weekend. I’m having a Girl’s Day in SF tomorrow, and attending the Great Start Party for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. You gotta have a smile on for that, baby!

Speaking of smiles, I also had my interview for the Be A Mentor program today! Woohoo! One step closer to meeting my mentee! I was told that they have someone in mind for me…a sixteen year old girl from Berkeley. I know so far that she is interested in Fashion and Design and Modeling. Right up my alley! Well the design part, at least! I already have ideas to do some artsy crafts with her, and maybe even set up a tour of FIDM with her for inspiration. Apparaently, they are going to talk with her this weekend to see if she is interested in me, and then if all goes well, we will be matched by Tuesday! I know that this will be a long process; getting to know eachother, learning about things that tick the other one off, setting boundaries and opening up. But in the end, I’ll be happy if she simply knows that she has a new friend. I am not going into this thinking that I am some savior, and expecting to make some huge, amazing impact on her life. This is not a movie. And I am not Oprah. I am here to listen and be a friend. That’s it. If she finds out that she likes me a lil’ bit along the way, even better. But I am not expecting anything even remotely Angel Network-ish. Have any of you ever been mentors before, or done something similar? I would LOVE to hear your advice, tips or simply just words of encouragement.

Needless to say, it’s been a pretty intense day. Two more hours and I am bookin’ it home. To my sweatpants. To my comfy oversized sweatshirt. To my slippers. To my puppy. And to POP OPEN THE VINO.

Party on Weekender Waynes,

Nik

 

Project #483: Be A Mentor January 11, 2009

Filed under: Mentor Mania — nikatnoon @ 12:50 pm
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Hi again, Party Peeps. I thought today would be a good day to fill you in on another one of my secret projects that I have taken under my belt this year. I have decided to, gulp, become a mentor.

Each day when I leave work, I drive down 5th Street in SFO to get to the Bay Bridge. There is a St. Vincent de Paul at 5th and Brannan that serves nightly dinners to homeless people. Of course, when I get off at 5, it is just in time to drive past everyone waiting in line for dinner. It breaks my heart. Every day. Occasionally, I will roll down my window and give someone a piece of fruit, or a bottled water if I have some extra things with me. I try not to give them money. But anyway, the thing that breaks my heart the most, is how many of these homeless people waiting in line are teenagers. I feel like there are so many preventative steps that could have been taken between their school, counselors, and extended family members to prevent such tragedies from happening, but so many kids slip through the cracks. I have been extremely blessed to have such an amazing, loving family who doesn’t hesitate to nurture me and love me when I need it. When I see some of these kids who have been neglected or abandoned, I just want to hug and squeeze them and let them cry to me, because I know they probably don’t have a family or support system like I do. I know I can’t save the world, but I can put a dime in the bucket and be content knowing that there are a whole lot of other people who care and help out as much as I do (in most cases, a whole lot more).

Back in November, I started researching some mentor and volunteer programs around the Bay Area that would allow me to connect with troubled kids, and simply be a dependable friend. I think I found one of the coolest (and most organized) non-profits in the Bay Area and am thrilled to begin working with them. The Be A Mentor Program (www.beamentor.org) matches up qualified volunteer mentors with children who are either in a foster home or have a parent in prison. After a pretty intense application and reference process, mentor training (which I went to yesterday), and TB testing (which I am getting today), mentors go through an interview before they are placed with a mentee. After my test results come in this week, I will be “matched” with my mentee within a week. Our relationship will begin with a “match meeting” where I visit her home with my Be A Mentor project manager and her social worker. We will meet and get to know her and her parents during the first meeting. From there on out, I will spend a minimum of one hour a week with her for a year-long commitment. I can pick her up and take her on day trips, do fun activities, etc…and even bring her to family get-togethers once we get closer and more comfortable with each other. If you can’t tell, I am uber stoked about meeting my girl and starting this journey with her. I will do my best to keep you peeps updated on our progress and fun adventures. I am not sure how in depth I can go with my posts (with respect to her privacy and also confidentiality laws), but will be getting this information from my Project Manager.

If any of you are looking for a volunteer opportunity or would love to spend some time mentoring a troubled child, I would definitely recommend checking out the Be A Mentor website and considering it. They told us at our training yesterday, that as of now they have over 300 kids in the Bay Area alone on the waiting list to get a Mentor. So the shortage in Mentors is definitely a problem. Spread the word! These kids need our love and time and trust, as for most of them they haven’t had a whole lot of it in the past.

Have a wonderful Sunday, Party Peeps! Here’s to a productive, healthy week ahead! Cheers!

P.O.W.,
Nik