National Mentoring Month: Volunteer to Change a Life


Kathryn Kochan is a Together for Tomorrow VISTA Member at Pine Crest Elementary in Sanford.

Mr. Julian,

When you come it makes me feel happy. I love that you play games with me. I really love when we play basketball and you tell funny stories. Once you beat me in soccer. You won but it was still fun. And it’s also cool when you take my brother and talk and each lunch with him. You give me good advice and it helps me be a better person.



The letter above was written by Yaluan, a student at Pine Crest Elementary School in Sanford to his volunteer mentor, Mr. Julian. They were connected through Heart of Florida United Way’s Together for Tomorrow education program.

Together for Tomorrow is a special initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, which seeks to support Title I public schools through volunteerism.  The project supports several schools across Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, and is coordinated by AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members who work in partnership with schools to recruit, train and support volunteers to help improve student attendance, behavior, course performance and access to college.

Yaluan and Mr. Julian’s relationship is just one example of how a mentor can have a positive impact on a child’s life. To the mentor it might just be eating lunch with a child, listening to him or her and telling stories. To the child it can mean so much more.

Having a mentor means knowing someone you can trust and open up to. It means learning how to interact with adults, learning how to set goals and work hard. It means feeling a sense of pride, accomplishment, trust and love when it may be the only place in that child’s life where they are able to feel that way.

As we approach the end of National Mentoring Month in January, please consider becoming a mentor and making a positive impact on a child’s life. You might find out that it changes your life too.

Whether serving as a mentor, tutor, classroom assistant, or in a variety of other ways, Together for Tomorrow volunteers are part of a team effort striving to help our students succeed. For more information or to get involved, please contact Heath Wells at or 407-429-2170.


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