Epworth Children’s Home
2900 Millwood Ave
Columbia SC 29205
803-256-7394

Volunteering: A Mentor for Life

When Lance* arrived at Epworth about four years ago, he was living with his grandmother who had raised him since he was a child.  As the years passed, however, his needs became more than his grandmother could provide and she reached out to Epworth for help.  She placed him at Epworth so he could receive the care he needed as he grew up. March 15 Care Story Photo_Web

Lance quickly settled in at Epworth and is thriving in the cottage environment.  He is close friends with the other boys in the cottage and quickly welcomes new residents when they arrive.  He is very respectful to the Epworth staff and takes pride in his schoolwork.  Throughout the year on weekends and on holidays, he is able to go home and visit with his grandmother and aunt.

Lance is now a teenager and about to enter high school.  Though he was excelling in the cottage and in visiting with his grandmother, his cottage staff knew something was still missing.  Last fall, Lance was matched with a volunteer mentor at Epworth, Thad.* Thad is a busy young professional who makes time every few weekends to volunteer as a mentor to Lance.

It has now been a few months since Lance and Thad met, and their relationship is thriving.  When Thad stops by to visit, Lance is excited.  They do not do anything elaborate. Their activities may just involve walking around campus, playing a pick-up game of basketball in the gym, or grabbing lunch at a local restaurant.  The one-on-one time provides an independent outlet for Lance to talk about his life, and also provides him with his first positive male role model.

Mentors like Thad can make all of the difference in a young person’s life.  Volunteer mentors provide the additional attention to enhance self-worth and self-esteem.  This has certainly been the case for Lance.  In addition to doing well in school and securing a summer job, he is on the track and field team at school this spring.   As he crosses the finish line at his next track meet, you can be sure that Thad will be standing and cheering for him.  And for Lance, that is a voice that will echo in his heart.

For more information on volunteer mentoring at Epworth visit www.epworthchildrenshome.org or contact Beth Robinson at brobinson@epworthsc.org.