The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program named Arnold resident Christine Saul as its April 2019 Mentor of the Month, according to a recent press release.
Saul has been matched with her 12-year-old mentee, Aeryn, for almost a year and a half. The two love to do crafts and hands-on activities.
“Christine always has something fun planned,” Aeryn said. “She is super fun!”
Last summer they made homemade lemonade and sold it at a garage sale.
“Aeryn is quite the salesperson!” Saul said.
“Christine is the perfect mentor for Aeryn,” said Kathryn Eustis, director of student support services for the Calaveras County Office of Education. “She has a deep understanding of kids and showers Aeryn with love and attention.”
A recently retired school psychologist, Saul has lived in Calaveras County for eight years. She also volunteers as a docent at Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
“This seemed like a natural fit for me, after having worked with youth in the schools,” Saul said. “I wanted to spend time with kids in a way that was not work. I wanted to have fun, and this was a natural progression.”
Aeryn’s dad, Brian Kelly, said Saul has helped boost Aeryn’s confidence since she became her mentor.
“It’s important that Aeryn has someone who makes her feel special and important,” he said. “Over the past two years, she has become much more outgoing and confident. I think she has benefited from having a person who is there just for her. Spending time with Christine is something that she always looks forward to and she comes home excited about all the stuff they did.”
When asked what she likes best about mentoring, Saul said, “Watching someone grow and knowing that this time makes a difference for them. It surprises me. We were painting rocks for an aquarium and I wasn’t even sure she liked it, but when it was time to go she didn’t want to leave.
“If you really want to make a difference in someone’s life, this is a sure way to do it,” Saul said. “You may not be aware of the impact you’re having, but you see it down the line and it grows and grows. I’m so happy to see how joyful Aeryn is now!”
“Happiness!” is Aeryn’s word for what she gains from having a mentor.
The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program has 12 boys and girls currently waiting to be matched with mentors. There are many ways to support the mentoring program. For more information, call Katie Lackler at 736-6078 or visit the program online at calaverasmentoring.org.