Matched since February 2009, one can easily picture Kremena and her Villa Maria mentee at play. They might be chasing butterflies, hiking a trail, building a snowman, riding a bike or just playing dolls.  It is magical because Kremena has a special gift for cherishing the little moments – a walk, a shared dream, a snowball fight, a smile.  The opportunity for her mentee to connect and build a positive relationship through play has created a special bond between Kremena and her mentee.

Unit Director Sue Bilger says, “Kremena has gone out of her way to accommodate her mentee’s interests by coming up with creative and fun ways to spend time together doing outdoor activities.  Kremena’s calm quiet manner is a perfect counterpoint for a child who tends to get easily distracted and overwhelmed.”

The rewards to mentoring are many for Kremena but she explains, “There’s something to take away from each visit. But I still remember the day when I visited my mentee after the big snow storm this year. For several years, I’d been longing to play in the snow the way I did when I was a child – savoring the snow and not caring about cold feet, cold hands and wet clothes. Well, we did exactly that. We dug tunnels, fought imaginary enemies with snowballs, built a snowman, made snow angels, and rode sleds. For one hour I was a child again and I have my mentee to thank for that.”

Of her role as a mentor, Kremena says, “This experience has been invaluable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Villa Maria’s Therapeutic Mentoring Program matches mentors with children, ages 7 to 14, receiving services for severe emotional disabilities. Therapeutic mentors work in a one-to-one mentoring match with children who live in residential care and/or attend one of Villa Maria’s special education schools.  Mentors are provided with orientation, printed materials, training, opportunities to network with other mentors, and regular contact with the Mentor Coordinator. Mentors serve as a positive role model and a consistent person in a child’s life.

For more information on mentoring, contact Lauren Porter, or 410-252-4700, ext. 204.