Since January was National Mentoring Month, we sat down with Cindi, who has been volunteering at Hope Clinic for over 20 years. She and others like her are the reason most of our clients say they were treated with respect, would return for further services, commit to making healthier life choices, and would recommend Hope Clinic to a friend.
HC: How long have you been a mentor to our clients?
Cindi: The exact date of my beginning as a volunteer at Hope Clinic is not a clear memory, but I do know that it was something I decided to do when my youngest child, my daughter Emily, was just over a year old. She is now 21, so it's been approximately 20 years. It was an ad in my church bulletin which prompted me to make the call to volunteer, after having been encouraged by someone already involved with Hope Clinic ( at the time it was Crisis Pregnancy Support Center ). I was trained in a two week evening class by Lucy Freed, the founding director, and Carolyn Hubbard, my first supervisor, who still remains in my heart as one of the most special people I've ever met.
HC: What keeps you coming back to Hope Clinic?
Cindi: Speaking of the most special people I've ever met, the folks I interact with while volunteering with Hope Clinic, staff and volunteers are great people to be around. It's a given that they're loving, caring people because they are there! It's always very comfortable to share my faith in their company and to ask for prayers in times of special need, and to feel the power of their prayers at those times as well. In my experience, this type of atmosphere is not often found in other workplaces. The work I do at Hope Clinic is something I believe is a really good fit for me. I'm really good at listening, I feel compassion for the clients in their often difficult situations, drawing on the difficulties I've experienced in my own life, and I really tend to genuinely LIKE most of the clients I've seen over these last 20 years, which makes it so easy for me to love them in the way I think God would have me love them for Him. Volunteering with Hope Clinic also gives me an outlet in a much more social way than much of the work I do on a regular basis.
HC: What would you say to someone who is considering being a mentor to our clients?
Cindi: If someone is considering becoming a mentor, I would say if you don't have difficulty with listening to other people's problems, and can listen without judging them, and don't mind too much sometimes not knowing whether your efforts have made a clear impact or have just planted a seed which may blossom later, and are comfortable with being there for them for up to two years, AND knowing that the gifts which the clients are given ultimately come from God, then you should jump on it!
HC: What have you learned about yourself through mentoring?
Cindi: In volunteering with Hope Clinic I've learned that what I think and do as a mentor is not nearly so important as my relationship with God. The stronger that relationship is, the more the clients appear to be benefitted. I have learned that as much as some situations frightened me in the beginning, that ultimately trusting God to do His work is where peace is found. I have learned that we are all human beings and that all any of us really wants is to be loved, and that it is my place to try to show God's love to our clients. There is so much more I could say about Hope Clinic and its meaning in my life, but I will just say that I am privileged to be a small part of such a wonderful and effective organization.