John Mark’s Story
I’ve had a pretty interesting life, but being a Mentor has been among the most rewarding things I’ve done.
I used to be a counselor and I knew I loved working with children, but wanted to find something more I could do and connect with outside of my 9 to 5 job. Then, I saw an ad for Illinois MENTOR’s Host Home program and was eventually matched with Colin. Today, I’m a Mentor for Colin in addition to working as a prevention specialist at a school for children with behavior challenges, and I couldn’t be more fulfilled.
Colin is 22 years old and has developmental disabilities. I had actually worked with him briefly in one of his previous foster homes, but like a lot of kids in the system Colin often moved from place to place. Colin’s father is in prison and his mother recently passed away. He and his two brothers, who also have developmental disabilities, have been in and out of foster care settings their entire lives.
Though it’s only been a short time, I like to think that we are bringing a new level of stability to each other’s lives. We are building a strong relationship, and I’ve seen a definite improvement in his social skills. Colin got his high school diploma and even took some college courses. He also does volunteer work at the local fire department and recently applied for a job as a substitute janitor. It’s been a very good experience for both of us.