If you’re familiar with Crossing Thresholds, then you have most likely heard about the mentorship program. Many trip participants arrive in Kenya and a child captures their minds and hearts, but for those of us who remain at home, mentorship is a choice to open our hearts to the world.
My mother and I were in a particularly busy phase of life. I had just gotten engaged and was about to start a master’s program and my mother’s work life was thriving. In other words, it was the perfect time to reconnect with a world outside of our own. Almost everyone who travels to Kenya with Crossing Thresholds will remember this feeling of being unapologetically connected with the present moment, while being severed from the pressure and speed of life at home. As much as we try to hang onto that feeling, eventually we lose it. If I have learned anything from my trips to Kenya it's that I need to find ways, even in my busiest moments, to bear witness to life instead of constantly trying to carve out my place in it. Sometimes, I need to find a way to just stop and reflect.
So, as my mother and I were at our kitchen table looking at photos and bios of students we found Clinton. To this day we both agree that it was his smile that caught our attention and we both knew that we needed to know this child. Over the next year we asked questions, learned about each other, and dreamed about the future. Clinton dreams of becoming an army officer and loves to play soccer. After a year of video chatting, and 3 years of being away because of Covid, I was finally able to meet Clinton. We were both nervous at first, but by the end of the day we were inseparable. Clinton would find me whenever I walked in the door. We played soccer, talked, danced, and I taught him how to paint the new classrooms and outer walls of his school. By the time the week was over our hearts were full but heavy with my departure looming. When I got home our next video chat couldn't come soon enough.
I became a co-mentor with my mother as a way to stay connected to each other, to hold each other accountable to our passion for service, and to nurture a relationship with a child who we would otherwise not know existed. Without a shadow of a doubt, we are better for knowing Clinton and we are so grateful for him. Choose to have a full heart, and become a mentor today.
Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) Co-Chair