Mentor Spotlight: Rusty Thompson

Today’s mentoring spotlight is on Rusty Thompson who is a mentor for second grader Jamarion Burton aka J-Mac.  Rusty met his wife Lorie at Abilene Christian University. They have been together for 15 years and now have three great kids. Lorie was one of our most dedicated volunteers when we launched Building Blocks - our preschool program - back in 2008. In fact, J-Mac and his twin brother P-Nut were Lorie's first loves at Fortress! It's amazing how God has brought the Thompsons and the Burtons full circle.

Rusty found out about our mentoring program through a family friend who encouraged him to get involved. By participating in small groups at church and going on youth mission trips, he has seen the value of programs like Ignite. “I’ve learned that there are kids out there who can really benefit from having a mentor,” he says.

Some of the skills that Rusty says are important for a good mentor to have are patience and the ability to let your inner kid come out around your mentee.   “If you are all stuffy and rigid, nobody is going to have fun.  You have be a cool and safe friend before you can be a role model,” he says.

J-Mac even has been able to teach Rusty a few things, especially on the Xbox.  “I pride myself at being good around video games but J-Mac schools me on NCAA 09 all the time!  Every time I celebrate a good play, he says I talk too much.  It cracks me up that he is so competitive,” he says.

For new mentors, Rusty has a few suggestions that can help them make a maximum impact with their mentee: “Have fun, be a friend, play games, and always be consistent.”

For more information on the Ignite mentoring program or for other volunteer opportunities at Fortress YDC email Dani at