If you think mentoring kids in middle school and high school only helps students, Elizabeth MacEwan, a Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County mentor, has something she wants you to know.
“You end up getting a lot more out of it than you give,” said MacEwan, a Royal Palm Beach resident.
She knows this to be true, having served as a mentor with Take Stock in Children for more than five years, helping students navigate their path to college — with a two-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship award waiting for them with successful completion of the nonprofit’s program.
The role has MacEwan spending time with students to keep them on track as they navigate the journey to high school graduation and beyond. In her second year, she stepped up to help provide added support to the roughly 60 students enrolled in the program as a mentee coordinator at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade.
On campus, MacEwan doubles her dedicated work with students as the school’s library media specialist, smiling when her mentees see that she has more in common with her students than they may realize at first glance.
“For example, mentees may assume my background is very different from theirs, when we actually may have a lot of similarities,” said MacEwan, who has six mentees under her wing this year and has experienced her own personal challenges. “By relating to them in ways they may not have expected can help them see that they are not alone and that they can overcome struggles.”
Working with students to overcome a variety of challenges like growing up in impoverished neighborhoods, learning disabilities or loss of a family member or friend, MacEwan finds the reward of mentoring returned. Qualities she uses to describe her students include showing dedication to their families, friends and academics; acceptance of others; and resilience.
“Watching my students work to overcome the struggles they face is an inspiration and helps me feel motivated to overcome my own difficulties,” she added.
For MacEwan, mentoring gives so much more to students than just practical advice that helps them graduate high school and achieve higher educational goals. “It also helps in terms of each becoming well-rounded and empathetic humans who may also choose to help the community when they get older,” she said.
She firmly believes in the lasting impact that mentoring has on the larger community.
“If we are doing things right, mentees become future mentors in some way, which makes the community, as a whole, a better place,” MacEwan said.
Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County impacts the community by bringing limitless opportunity to its young adults, with the gift of education.
For more information, visit www.takestockpalmbeach.org.