WEST PALM BEACH — If you think mentoring kids in middle and high school only helps students, Elizabeth MacEwan, a Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County mentor, has something she wants you to know.
“You end up getting a lot more out of it than you give,” said MacEwan, of Royal Palm Beach.
She knows this to be true, having served as a mentor with Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County for more than five years, helping students navigate their path to college - with a two-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship award waiting for them with successful completion of the 25-year nonprofit’s program.
The role, has MacEwan, spending time with students to keep them on track, as they navigate the journey to high school graduation and beyond, in their college experience. In her second year, she stepped up to help provide added support to the roughly 60 students enrolled in the program as a Mentee Coordinator at Glades Central High School, in Belle Glade.
On campus, MacEwan doubles her dedicated work with students, as the school’s Library Media Specialist – smiling when her mentees see that she has more in common with her students then they may realize at first glance.
“For example, mentees may assume my background is very different from theirs when we actually may have a lot of similarities,” said MacEwan, who has six mentees under her wing this year and has experienced her own personal challenges. “By relating to them in ways they may not have expected can help them see that they are not alone and that they can overcome struggles.”
Working with students to overcome a variety of challenges like growing up in impoverished neighborhoods, learning disabilities, or loss of a family member or friend, MacEwan finds the reward of mentoring returned. Qualities she uses to describe her students include showing dedication to their families, friends, and academics; acceptance of others; and resilience.
“Watching my students work to overcome the struggles they face is an inspiration and helps me feel motivated to overcome my own difficulties,” she added.
For MacEwan, mentoring gives so much more to students than just practical advice that helps them graduate high school and achieve higher educational goals. “It also helps in terms of each becoming well-rounded and empathetic humans who may also choose to help the community when they get older.”
She firmly believes in the lasting impact mentoring has on the larger community.
“If we are doing things right, mentees become future mentors in some way, which makes the community, as a whole, a better place.”