HEIDI SCHMITT

Heidi Schmitt has been an inspiration to her mentee, who has grown into a "young woman who is just a delight to be around."
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others
— Ghandi

Date you became a mentor:
April 2011.

What inspired you to get involved with CPNYC?
Ghandi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” To me, that is the epitome of what it means to be a mentor at CPNYC. I have always been involved in volunteering projects of one kind or another, but I was looking for something that would make a significant impact and would be a long-lasting commitment. Mentoring a child at CPNYC was the perfect fit for me.

What is it like to be a mentor?
Wonderful. Scary. Exciting. Vexing. Fun. Frustrating. Comforting.  
There is no one word to describe what it is like to be a mentor. There are good moments and bad moments—often within the same visit! But it is such a fulfilling experience for me, and I wouldn’t trade the time I spend with my mentee for anything.  

Share your most memorable moment as a mentor.
For me, my favorite moment with my mentee was when my retired parents were visiting from Florida, and she came over to have dinner with us. Both of my parents adored her, and the feeling was mutual. My father is a kind man but not much of a talker, and my mentee engaged him in conversation easily—way more easily that I have been able to! My mother is an avid gardener, and she was planting some flowers for me in my backyard. My mentee helped her, and you could tell that they both enjoyed the experience greatly. Watching her with my parents was very special, because I love all three of them very much, and it was so wonderful to have my “family” all together.  

How has your mentee transformed in your time together?
She has really grown up to be a young woman who is just a delight to be around. She was a little shy when we first started meeting, but she has grown to open up to me. I truly do consider her to be part of my family, and I hope she will continue to trust me and confide in me as she gets older.  

What advice would you offer to future mentors?
Hang in there. Enjoy it. Be committed and consistent. And most of all—remember that you’re only going to get one go around in life, and you get the most out of it by making genuine connections to and serving those around you.