As we know, life is full of ups and downs. It comes with blessings and hardships, and it can be difficult to find your place. Sally Harms found a purpose in being a mentor with TeamMates, and gained pride for her mentee, Christian Miller. Even during the short year and a half that they have been matched, it has made all the difference for the both of them.
Sally said, “I have learned that you never know how you might impact another person’s life, but also, I never expected that he would have such an impact on my life. The friendship that has developed between us has been such a wonderful surprise.”
Christian was initially hesitant when it came to opening up and accepting Sally as a new part of his life, but eventually, he found that she was the reason that being a part of TeamMates Mentoring had such a big impact on him as well.
Although it has resulted in a great relationship, the two of them made their connection after some bumps in the road. Christian signed up to have a mentor after his head football coach and principal recommended it to him when he moved to Pierce High School as a sophomore. He was matched until his family moved to Pilger, Nebraska a year later when he was a junior, and he decided to request a mentor once again through Wisner-Pilger.
It came to Sally’s attention that Christian was looking for a mentor but decided not to volunteer to mentor with him right away incase a male mentor happened to come forward for him. She already had one mentee, so she wanted to make sure that Christian was going to get the best experience that he could possibly get and didn’t want to commit if there was someone else who could better fit into his schedule. After noticing that Christian was on the waiting list for a mentor for two months, she knew she couldn’t let him go without one any longer.
“I didn’t know anything about Christian except that he wanted a mentor. After I met him, I wondered if we would ever have a real conversation as he was so very quiet,” Sally said.
But that didn’t last long. The two of them even grew an ongoing, very competitive Jenga tradition which neither liked to lose. They became an inspiration for one another through this program and life in general. At times, they would feel like they had known each other forever while still navigating through the process of learning about who they are within themselves and who they are together.
Christian said, “This has shown me that I’m not alone. Having a person like Sally, who I can trust to be there for me when I need them the most, is my favorite part about being in this program. I have been paired with two people, who I know that if I ever needed anything, would be very happy to help me out without any hesitation,” which is exactly what made them the perfect match.
Sally watched Christian face and overcome so much adversity, but she knew that all he needed was a little support and he would take it, run with it, and never stop succeeding. Being there for him was Sally’s highest priority when it came to their mentoring relationship. She was amazed by his adaptability and never doubted his capability. According to Christian, capability was his purpose all along through this program. He chose this word because before TeamMates, he never guessed he would be where he is today or that college would be an option for him.
He said, “Because of Sally and TeamMates, they made college possible for me, and I am very thankful for this opportunity that they gave me. The program is not only a fun experience, but it’s very helpful for when you are ready to start looking for a college and need help with scholarships. I wouldn’t change anything about my time with TeamMates other than wishing I would have joined sooner. It has been a great experience.”
Christian Miller was the recipient of the TeamMates Award Waiver Scholarship, and the two of them shared a sense of relief because of it. He knew this would help his chance of continuing to explore, expand, and grow by being able to go to college. Although Christian became a second son to Sally and she is nervous about him leaving home, she is thrilled to see him be able to attend college and proud of him for accomplishing things that were difficult.
Throughout their journey together at TeamMates thus far, neither had anticipated the pride, purpose, and partnership that they gained just between the two of them. They will go on to stay matched through Christian’s next chapter at college and have hope that others will choose to join TeamMates for an “experience that you will never forget.”