Abi Ruth Martin
The Mentoring Project, Oklahoma City
Although matched for only a year, mentor Abi Ruth Martin – director of the Cornerstone Project and a freelance photographer – and mentee Sharai Shine – a student at Kenneth Cooper Middle School in Oklahoma City – are already the best of friends.
“These two cherish their time with each other; they’re genuinely involved in one another’s lives,” observes Bruce Doane with The Mentoring Project, noting that they interact at the group’s Tuesday night group, as well as outside activities such as going to the mall and movies and getting their nails done. They even attend church together. “It’s easy to see the connection these two have. Check out Abi’s saved Mentor Moments story on her Instagram account (@abi_ruth).”
Sharai says that Martin has helped her to grow more patient “with the people who push her buttons,” while Martin says she’s enjoyed seeing things from her mentee’s innocent point of view. “She takes things at face value and is refreshingly optimistic and hopeful, while still being opinionated and adventurous,” Martin says. “In mentoring Sharai, I’ve gained a more positive perspective on the world around me.”
Doane says Martin also has had an impact on the program beyond her mentee. “One of our kids was nervous about sharing something with her mentor, and Sharai got on her about it. ‘That’s the whole reason for a mentor,’ she told her, ‘to be able to talk about things you can’t talk about with everyone.’”
Additionally, Doane says, Martin is a consistent presence on program nights. “She’s a great example of a mentor who continually shows up. She is someone we can trust to invest not only in her personal relationship with her mentee, but also our entire mentoring community.”
About the Program: The Mentoring Project is a faith-based nonprofit that trains mentors to connect with at-risk youth. Through dynamic mentor trainings, national mentor recruitment and the creation of sustainable mentoring communities, the Mentoring Project is changing the next generation.