Partner Spotlight | Mentor Upstate

Something as simple as eating lunch together each week can change a child’s life—at least that’s what Mentor Upstate believes.

Growing up in poverty comes with a set of unique challenges. For a variety of reasons, children may spend most of their time without the support of a consistent adult in their lives. And yet, their futures are directly impacted by the investment made (or not made) by the adults around them.

Mentor Upstate started as a simple program that paired students from the Frazee Center with an adult mentor. When they saw the impact that could be made through a mentoring relationship, Mentor Upstate was born.

Mentor Upstate now partners with schools across Greenville, Anderson, and Pickens to provide mentors for students in elementary and middle schools. They’re already serving over 700 students in the Upstate, but they’re not done yet.

“There are tons of kids who just need that extra support,” says Jennifer Medlock, the director of the Greenville chapter. “We match these kids up with a responsible adult. And really this adult is just being a friend to this child. They are simply there to support them and spend a little bit of time with them.”

Jennifer has been a mentor herself for the past 5 years. She works with a girl who is the same age as her own daughter; at one point, they were in the same class at school. “I saw what Frazee was doing,” Jennifer told us, “And I wanted to contribute. It was easy because the child was right there. It wasn’t a lot of my time. It’s amazing that these kids can live just down the street, and yet grow up in an entirely different environment.”

When you choose to become a mentor, you are simply choosing to befriend a child. You are giving them the opportunity to talk and share experiences with you. You become an advocate, an encourager, someone who is proud of them. You are directly taking part in shaping a young person’s life, giving them a sense of hope, and providing them with a vision for their life. By becoming a mentor, you are making an investment in the future and increasing the likelihood that these children will go on to be successful adults.

Mentor Upstate provides you with all the tools you’ll need. From an initial training to conversation starters posted on their website, you will be given all the tools you will need to foster a successful relationship. In return, your only required task is to eat lunch with the child at school once a week for the duration of the school year.

With a new school year just around the corner, Mentor Upstate is ready for you to join them. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, visit their website for details about fall opportunities.