Mentor Program

Greyson’s Story – A Five-Year Wait

greyson and mentor lawton makovec

Let us tell you about our newest Youth Horizons Mentor Program protégé, Greyson.  
On the surface, Greyson’s new mentor match could look like any number of our new matches. He’s a charming, clever 13-year-old young man who attends Jardine STEM and Career Explorations Academy, a magnet school in south Wichita. Greyson is interested in a variety of outdoor activities, including football, and has a real affinity for fishing. He knows how to adapt to an array of different personalities and situations and is actively working hard on his personal development with the aspiration toward a more whole young adulthood. 

What makes Greyson’s mentor match different? Greyson was on our wait list for five years. That’s an obvious eternity for a young boy in need of more adult contact points to support and nurture his development and growth. This match can be viewed as a cautionary tale, highlighting the deficit of faith-based mentors in our community to meet the needs. It can also be viewed as the great mentor-match victory that it is. We choose to celebrate the latter. 

Greyson’s childhood years have been fraught with trauma. As mom Mellen says, “Greyson wouldn’t be Greyson if it weren’t for the trauma he went through.” At a very early age, he was already navigating life with an absent father and a single, alcoholic mother (now 2 years and 8 months sober). He survived a car accident at age 6, the loss of his home and family pets in a house fire at age 9, a revolving door exodus of family members and other adults from his young life, and multiple years of in-and-out admissions to Camber Children’s Mental Health due to his escalating behavioral expressions of his traumas.  

Why do we deliberately choose to see all of this as positive? Because we see hope. We know the statistical results and positive impact that mentoring has on young people. We now have a dedicated and enthusiastic mentor, Lawton Makovec from Life.Church East, who matched interests and other points we use in our matching processes. One of our ongoing challenges is finding mentors for vulnerable youth located in south Wichita. That was not a hurdle for Lawton, and he is launching a new opportunity for Greyson to learn new ways, and to see new examples of healthy growth and development toward adulthood. Renewed parenting activation and commitment from Mellen and her fiancé Zack has also become a substantial stabilizer for Greyson’s development. 

Greyson’s family pig, Clinton

We asked Mellen why she chose to leave Greyson on the mentoring wait list at Youth Horizons given the existence of other community mentoring programs they could have tried and the extended time it took to find his right match (there was a brief 4-month mentor match in his early years on the wait list). “I loved the way they spoke with- and treated us.” A Youth Horizons approach for kids on the wait list is to include and invite them to our mentor program activities. Mellen noted, “Miss Carrie, Mr. Jayden, and Mr. Rob all reached out to me in a personal versus business way. No matter how Greyson might have behaved at a Youth Horizons event, they were always forgiving and always ‘there’. I use the words forgiveness, mercy, and kindness. Youth Horizons has an absolutely amazing structure behind absolutely amazing people.” 

We see hope.