Mentor Spotlight: Jill Henson

This week’s mentor spotlight is on Jill Henson.  Jill is a mentor for kindergartner Alena Guyton.  Jill is the daughter of Fortress Executive Director Terri Henson and is currently on Fortress staff as the receptionist.  She started volunteering at Fortress through Legacy Church of Christ in 2006 and continued volunteering sporadically over the years.  She also spent two summers as an intern in the Summer Jam program.

Alena and Jill
Jill began working with Alena this year.  She said she was drawn to Alena as a mentee because they have a lot in common.  “Alena is a lot like me in the fact that she speaks her mind.  She does not hold her feelings back and is quick to express how she is feeling to the people that she trusts,” she says.

During mentor time, Alena and Jill spend time doing arts and crafts as well as working on high frequency words and other academic areas in which Alena is struggling.  They also took a recent field trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

One of the biggest keys to being a good mentor, according to Jill, is to be extremely consistent.  “That goes for both the mentor and the mentee.  A good relationship has to be built through being consistent in attendance.  If the mentee and the mentor are only able to meet every few weeks rather than every week, it is hard to build a strong and trusting relationship,” she says.

The biggest benefit of the Ignite mentoring program to Jill is the reliable relationships that are built.  "Ignite helps our kids develop a one-on-one relationship that is consistent and reliable.  This can help them grow in other interpersonal relationships that they have with people in their lives,” she says.

Although Jill and Alena have only been together a short period, they have had a lot of great experiences.  “One week I tried to teach Alena about mixing colors.  It wasn’t very successful because by the time we were done, all the colors had turned into an ugly brown.  We had a good laugh about that!” she says.

For more information about the Ignite mentoring program or for other volunteer opportunities at Fortress YDC, email Dani at dani@fortressydc.org.