Norman began mentoring over three years ago. He was matched to two brothers, who are sons of a single mother. The boys skipped school often, and were doing poorly. Their hygiene was lacking, and they had few social skills. They fought with each other and were out of control. A retired school teacher, Norman jumped right in, helping the boys with their school work by supervising their reading, working with flash cards on reading and math, and helping them practice their skills. He talked with their teachers and kept himself updated by their mom. The boys quickly developed a relationship with Norman, and he has gone the extra mile in mentoring them. Every fun activity has also included some educational components. He also has them do yard work and other chores for him, for which they are paid, and he is teaching them to manage money.
Norman has not only responded to the boy’s needs (getting them haircuts, motivating them to help keep their home clean) but he works with them on sports skills, takes them out to eat and for treats, helps them modify their social behavior, and gives them little rewards when they meet their behavioral and school goals. He meets with them an average of twice a week, for two hours each time, and often makes quick visits to keep the influence going.
As the brothers are very different from one another, Norman often separates them to individualize their activities. He recognizes their strengths and their needs and interests, and plans mentoring activities to focus on these. He uses his teaching skills to create games which help the boys memorize times tables, and math concepts. He is in contact with their schoolteachers, so he is aware of the areas where they need special help. He reviews past learning situations, to help the boys remember what they are learning, and even when they are driving to swim, or other activity, there is always a discussion going on. He is aware of activities in the community which are fun, educational, cultural, and often free or for a small cost, and takes his mentees to a real variety of events.
He is a dedicated mentor, and also works at recruiting new mentors for waiting kids. He frequently has suggestions for activity opportunities for all mentors and their mentees. He believes in mentoring and promotes it at every opportunity.
In addition to his mentoring, Norman Smith is a volunteer with RSVP – the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. He is involved in many church and community events and encourages others to become involved