Throughout the Years
For nearly a decade, Mike Vieux (a senior project manager at JE Dunn Construction) has been mentoring
Darrell, now a freshman in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.
"I started with him in the first grade and now he is in the ninth grade," Mike said.
So what keeps him involved?
"I've always liked mentoring kids," he said. "In fact, I have five of my own."
Mike and his wife, Joan, also have cared for foster children over the years. But it is his relationship with Darrell that inspires him to continue mentoring.
"I'm committed to him," he said. "I've told Darrell on several occasions I'm going to be here for him until he goes to college."
The bond between the two has not gone unnoticed by people around them.
"Mike and Darrell are an excellent example of what YouthFriends is all about," said Pam Kotelov-Glickman, YouthFriends Coordinator for the Kansas City, Missouri School District. "Mike is committed to seeing Darrell cross the stage and accept his diploma. It is wonderful for a YouthFriend to follow a student to four different schools; I think this shows the commitment Mike has to Darrell."
Mike says he'll never forget Darrell's expression at the end of one school year when he asked Mike if he was coming back again. That is when he told Darrell he was staying until he went to college.
The two enjoy eating lunch, talking and playing games, but Mike emphasizes that mentoring is more than fun and games. Beginning a mentoring relationship takes patience and time, he says.
"Although it can seem painful sometimes to leave the office, you will be glad when you get there (to school)---it's well worth it."
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