I knew I had found the perfect program

Laura Papp
LifeTies mentor Laura Papp

LifeTies program for LGBTQ youth

I am a proud member of the LifeTies Mentor Program. I have worked as the accounting and human resources (HR) manager for 26 years. LifeTies has been my first experience as a mentor, though I have had many interactions in my HR position to foster my passion for helping others.

Recently, I had started exploring the idea of joining a mentor program as I felt this intrinsic need to work with youth who needed more support. In my teenage years, my family went through challenging times, and I felt alone, with nobody to talk to. A mentor could have really helped me process these challenges in a healthier, less emotionally harmful way.

When I stumbled upon a LifeTies post expressing their need for volunteers I knew I had found the perfect program.

My mentee Drew* has a passion for art and expresses it through makeup and fashion. We often enjoy shopping and going out to lunch together. I find chatting while shopping and then sitting down for lunch creates a relaxed and casual space for conversation. This gives Drew the opportunity to talk about difficult topics without feeling put on the spot.

Our goals are to prepare for getting a summer job and planning for their future college and career options. I have always been a bit of a researcher and I love helping Drew find college programs that match with their love of art. We also discuss steps they can take now to start preparing for art school, such as starting a portfolio with their drawings.

As for finding a job, Drew has an idea where they want to work this summer, so we will be focusing on potential interview questions, how to fill out a job application, and the importance of picking good references.

Working with Drew has taught me how important consistency and routine is when beginning a mentor/mentee relationship. Every afternoon spent together builds trust in each other, and this allows Drew to feel comfortable talking about their struggles with me. Knowing that Drew now has me to talk to about the difficult moments and knowing that they can trust me to support them unconditionally brings me a sense of peace.

Since starting our mentorship, Drew and I always look forward to our next day spent together and regularly text throughout the week with messages of support and encouragement.

You may join the Teenage Independent Living Training mentoring program. The mentors provide guidance and direction to youth ages 10-21. They meet with their mentees at least four hours a month. All mentors must be at least 21 and pass all background checks. 

*Name has been changed to protect their identity.