Photo courtesy Youth Villages
Story contributed by Karlyle Alvino
Tangina Sanders is the very dedicated and compassionate State Coordinator for the Youth Villages LIFT mentoring program, a role she has had for three years. Sanders’ passion comes from her experience over the past five years that she has been involved with the mentoring program.
She has been a mentor herself, managed the mentor program, and placed mentors with mentees, all which have contributed to the ways she has seen growth in both mentors and mentees. Something that has surprised Sanders the most is that it “doesn’t take much to make such a difference with the mentee.” Sanders went on to explain that some of the mentees have so little, and an hour of a mentor’s time each week could mean the world to the mentee.
Sanders’ prepared for her current role with Youth Villages by studying Psychology/Human Services in college and working within the school environment. She became highly involved with families and in the personal lives of youth which inspired her to do something to directly serve kids and shape their lives.
Sanders worked in public school systems in Arkansas and Iowa which helped to form her character and fervor for her job today.
Sanders encourages everyone to be mentors and advises that, “anybody can mentor because the small things count, small commitments make a huge difference.”
It is the little moments that have the largest impact on the mentees’ lives. For instance, taking a short drive in the car, having the mentor pick the mentee up from school and go for ice cream; experiences that may seem insignificant in the lives of the mentors can be life-changing to the mentees.
In Sanders’ experience, people underestimate how valuable their time is. Sanders believes “the community as a whole is really struggling if we could all partner together and truly be committed to making our community better and stronger we could see monumental changes.”
Tangina Sanders wants to be able to say that she did her part to change the community for the better when all is said and done. She ends by saying, “there is only so much we can do as individuals, but together we can achieve so much more.”
To learn more about Youth Villages, visit www.YouthVillages.org.