Five years ago, Larry Sawyer heard about Partnership Scholars Program from a few friends who had been involved as mentors and he thought to himself, “Well, maybe I will do this later.” But there was an immediate need for new mentors to take on the growing number of students in the Fort Bragg area, and Larry decided not to put it off and stepped up to the plate. Larry was paired with one student that year, Damien, and two years later took on a second scholar, Ian.
Even though the boys were a year apart, Larry knew it was a good pairing. Larry has now seen Ian graduate, with Damien preparing for graduation in the coming year. What he’s gained from the two boys is immeasurable. “The one-on-one and one-on-two small group sharing, driving to and from places and the check-ins” are what have been most important to Larry. “It’s good to form relationships with people of other ages than ourselves,” says Larry. “I don’t have my own kids, so this gives me an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise.” Larry emphasizes the benefit of sharing experiences with those younger than himself, gaining their life perspective and giving back, imparting his own wisdom. “It’s healthy for them to have other older people in their lives,” says Larry, pointing out that mentors offer supplemental guidance to what they receive from their parents.