Sara Taksler has proven to be an invaluable mentor at Duncan PAL Community Center. For the last 3 years, Sara has devoted her time to mentoring 4th grader, Janeele. When asked about her experience and her mentee, Sara shared, “Janeele is such a smart, funny kid and she keeps me on my toes. Mentoring is definitely a process… You have to get to know each other in order to bring out the best in one another. Over time, I’ve noticed Janeele becoming more outgoing and willing to share more with me, which has been fun to witness. Since we have been paired up for a few years now, I think there is a trust and ease where we can joke around and have fun, and still get homework done and talk about whatever is on our minds.”
What inspired Sara to become a mentor? Sara reflected, “A few years ago, I realized there was nothing in my life that I did solely because it brought me pleasure. Everything I did, even if I enjoyed it, somehow involved work, outside projects, helping a friend, or some other goal besides just being a happier person. Mentoring was something I took on just because I thought I’d like it…It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time and it felt like a good change in priorities to finally make time to do it. Mentoring brought some balance to my schedule and is often the highlight of my week.”
Passionately committed to mentoring, Sara went above and beyond during 2009-10’s mentoring year by leading a two-session activity which taught the mentees about volunteerism and philanthropy. After receiving $100 from a friend with the stipulation of using the money in an altruistic manner, Sara created an activity where PAL mentees and mentors decided how the money would be spent.
The first session consisted of brainstorming, presenting ideas, and hand-raising voting that determined two recipients. Matches selected that the $100 be divided between Sacred Heart of Jesus Church’s Food Pantry on West 52nd and KIVA, a microfinance loan group that inspires individuals to lend to an entrepreneur from across the globe in disadvantaged towns around the world.
At the next mentoring session, with all hands on deck, the matches filled paper lunch bags with snacks and juice boxes, and then donated them to the Food Pantry at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. The remaining money was donated to KIVA (www.kiva.org). Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty and with the money donated, a loan was provided to a young entrepreneur in the Dominican Republic.
Sara’s outstanding dedication to mentoring has not only benefited her mentee, Janeele, but has made a positive impact on Duncan PAL Community Center. Mentoring USA celebrates Sara Taksler for her unswerving commitment to mentoring!