Grace was assigned to Jasmine, a 10 year old girl. When they first met, Jasmine refused to speak, she stood with her lips pursed and arms crossed. After a few weeks Grace brought out a sheet of faces and asked Jasmine if she could circle the face that represented how she was feeling (a Kids Hope resource). She circled shy. Then when asked why and she wrote – stranger.
This gave Grace insight and she responded with compassion and understanding. Then… Jasmine began to speak! Grace, through conversation, learned that Jasmine liked to think about her dream house so they shared an activity the following week designing her dream house and rooms for her family members.
The week after was dramatically different. When Grace arrived, Jasmine was on the floor kicking and screaming. Grace asked the teacher what had happened. The teacher explained that from early in life Jasmine had been moved between her mum and her auntie, both not really capable of caring for her well. The result was a deep seeded feeling of rejection. That week she had been sent to a foster home one hour away from school. A different person drove her to and from school each day – all strangers to her. It would take the school an hour to coax her into the car at the end of each day to go home. She was so afraid of strangers.
And on that particular day she was about to meet her new counsellor – yet another stranger, and she was very afraid. Grace’s heart sank as she thought about the trauma and rejection that Jasmine had experienced and how frightened she was by a constant stream of strangers. When Jasmine came out of her counselling appointment, she looked up and saw Grace. She ran to her and threw her arms around her. She was so relieved to see Grace, a person she could count on. All Grace had done was turn up each week and show she cared.
Then came COVID and mentoring was paused. Jasmine didn’t cope well. So the Assistant Principal’s first thought was to find a way for Jasmine to see Grace as they had witnessed the impact that mentoring had had on Jasmine.
The Assistant Principal offered to set up online mentoring with Jasmine. Jasmine was so excited to see Grace that she did a happy dance! Grace joined in and they did a virtual happy dance together.