Graduate Match Highlight: Deb and Katelin
written by Deb Shirkey, mentor
In the summer of 2010, Earnest Alexander approached the church I was attending at the time, and asked us if we would consider being a part of a new type of Youth Horizons’ match program. It was going to be “church based” instead of “community based.” The idea was to match up a church, in the neighborhood of a school, and church members would meet with their protege, once a week, over their lunch period and mentor them.
I thought this sounded great, so I signed up. In early September, we had our first chance to meet and have lunch with our protege. My match was a 3rd grade girl named Katelin.
In my memory, it was apparent, fairly quickly, that it was a great match, and Katelin & I were getting along just fine. I began to look forward to our weekly lunches and the year passed quickly. As she moved to 4th grade, I definitely wanted to continue the relationship and keep meeting weekly for lunch. As Katelin moved into 5th grade, we decided to move to “Community based” Mentoring.
Over these past 10 years, we have done so many things together, Some of the highlights: Planning, preparing and serving a meal to both of our families together, going to the zoo, both with her family members and my family members, baking cookies and baking many other things
(we BOTH love to bake!). Katelin enjoys art, so we also enjoyed some time painting at Paint the Towne and Color me Mine. As she got older, we have also composed a resume for her and helped her parents with some preliminary college planning, and one of our favorite ‘go to’s’ ~ going out for ice cream. First it was Braum’s, and in the past few years, Freddie’s has become our “go to” place!
So, as Katelin graduates in this very ‘strange’ year of 2020, I want to say how PROUD I am of her! She is graduating from Wichita South High, which is actually my Alma Mater also. Katelin has risen past the challenges she has faced and is very excited to be headed to Hutchinson Community College in the fall, beginning her degree in Business Administration. She fell in love with the Fire Science program at South High, however, due to health issues, cannot be a firefighter. So, her dream is to be able to help in the administrative end of fire fighting and support those true heroes, as they do what they do to save lives.
I am so glad that Earnest approached our church that day!! Katelin is no longer my ‘protege’, she is my friend and I look forward to many more ice cream dates and fun things together as she moves into this adult world.