Reflecting on two years of mentoring through LQ Sr

Jul 04, 2018|Written By: Megan Helbling

For the last two years I’ve been a volunteer leader of Ladies of Quality (LQ) Sr, Abundant Life’s mentoring program for high school girls. Along with another UVA student, SK, I’ve had the amazing experience of getting to know three young women who are all long-time Abundant Life participants.

We’ve spent most of our time together at the White House, which had just been remodeled when our group began in the fall of 2016. Spending time in the cozy sanctuary of Abundant Life’s home was such a blessing, as we would often spread out to accommodate the girls’ different schedules each week–one participant would flop on a couch in the living room to enjoy some rarely experienced quiet time, SK and another participant would retreat to a quiet room in the back to work on homework, and another participant and I would cook dinner in the kitchen. After enjoying a family-style meal, we would discuss a bible passage or doubts we had in our faith, chat about the upcoming homecoming dance, or play a game of Sorry! Some of my favorite memories were created around this table as we teased each other, complimented each other, and successfully pried our girls away from their phones for an hour with our no-phone policy (quite a feat for high schoolers, if I may say so myself).

When we weren’t at the White House, we had so much fun on outings in Charlottesville and beyond. Because of generous connections through Abundant Life friends, we cheered on UVA basketball and soccer teams, enjoyed cultural experiences like plays and dance shows at the Jefferson School and the Paramount, and went to movies, like the midnight premiere of Black Panther. One of the best trips we went on together was a day trip to Kings Dominion, where some of our girls rode roller coasters for the first time and more than a few frightened tears turned into belly laughs by the end of the day.

Through tutoring and college prep work, we’ve walked alongside our students as they’ve overcome academic challenges, considered and reconsidered different post-grad options, and prepared for college entrance exams.

Through tutoring and college prep work, we’ve walked alongside our students as they’ve overcome academic challenges, considered and reconsidered different post-grad options, and prepared for college entrance exams. A rewarding part of steering our group toward post-grad readiness has been aiding our girls in the part-time jobs they’ve pursued to fill their weekends and summer breaks. We’ve driven them to job interviews, helped fill out applications, and empowered them to voice concerns to bosses or fellow employees. And, we’ve been there to treat them to some well-deserved ice cream after picking them up after a long day at work.

One of the most rewarding memories I have of our group is a conversation with one of our girls as we drove home and discussed the salary of someone working at a minimum wage job. Initially, she assumed that merely by working many hours every week a person would receive enough income to easily pay the bills. But as we went through realistic costs of living, she realized how hard it was to stay afloat with a low-wage job, and commented “Wow, that’s why it’s so important to graduate from high school.” It was a small, encouraging victory, where I felt as though our program was making strides towards equipping our girls toward a successful future.

As SK and I both graduated from UVA in May, we will be leaving Charlottesville in August–and one of the hardest goodbyes will be to our high school group. They will all be seniors at Charlottesville High School next year, and we are so eager to keep up with them from afar, and trust in the Lord’s faithfulness to provide them new mentors and tutors to encourage and challenge them in the year, or years, to come. I am so thankful for the friendships and memories that Abundant Life offered me these past two years.

Megan and SK were 2017-18 Horizon Fellows and 2016-17 Perkins Fellows with our partner, Theological Horizons. For more information about the Horizon and Perkins Fellows programs, click here.

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