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When Joy Hamilton of Rockport entered her freshman year at Bridgewater State College this fall, she was well equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of college life thanks to a five-year friendship with her mentor Mary Donovan of Gloucester. The pair met through Children’s Friend and Family Services Youth Mentoring program whose mission is to establish positive, healthy, and productive mentoring matches that will enhance the young person’s social, emotional and educational outcomes. 

Throughout the last five years the pair has enjoyed getting to know each other by delighting in the simple pleasures of friendship like eating out at a restaurant, and learning about each others lives. Most recently the duo enjoyed visiting area colleges and rejoicing in the full scholarship Joy was awarded at Bridgewater State College where she will study Accounting and Criminal Justice. 

“I like hanging out with Mary. She has taught me so much, especially that every action does not need a reaction,” says Joy.

“Being a mentor has helped me understand other people’s lives, especially people who have kids who need to think about someone else. Joy has also taught me all about texting,” jokes Mary, who works at Landry and Arcari in Salem.

“Joy and Mary’s match story is so special because it shows the power of mentoring.  Joy is an extraordinary young woman and with the support and friendship of Mary, her opportunities have blossomed and her world has widened. Mentors are like a secret key that unlock the gates for fun, trust, support, and wisdom. This program is entirely voluntary on both ends.   By going on walks on the beach or sharing a meal, mentors get to share a part of themselves with a young person who is excited and proud to spend time together,” says Samantha Alves of Gloucester, Children’s Friend and Family Services Director of Youth Mentoring. 

Children’s Friend and Family Services seeks volunteer mentors ages 21 and older to be matched with one youth mentee from the North Shore. Youth are between the ages of 5 and 18, and as a mentor you would meet every week for at least two hours . Our mentors come from a variety of backgrounds. The current cape Ann waitlist has 5 children on it, the entire program waitlist has nearly 40.

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