Mark Thompson, Financial Planner at Edward Jones and Mentor for Taylor ISD

The famous basketball coach John Wooden said, "you can't live a perfect day until you do something for someone else without any expectation of something in return.”

Four years ago when I became a mentor in Taylor ISD, my motivation was to pay it forward. I was blessed to have multiple adults that invested their time in me when I was growing up, and I know how much of a difference it made in my life. For me, it is a way of being thankful for and honoring those that helped me.

On those days that I mentor the kids, it is impossible for me to have a bad day. I am amazed by how much the kids say and show their appreciation. Even though I spend a fraction of time mentoring – usually one or two hours a week – it seems to make a huge difference to those students. I know that the time we spend together is not forgotten. I see their behavior towards others change over time in a positive way. I see them doing better in school and in life.

I know that mentoring makes a difference and I have seen significant change in the students I have met over the years. Someday, I hope those kids will also make the choice to do something good for themselves, their family and for other people – without any expectation of something in return.

My hope for our community is that we make decisions about our community with our kids’ interests as the top priority. If we invested more in the long-term solutions to issues facing our kids, I believe many of our community problems could be solved.

Mentoring is one way to impact the future of a student for the long-term. I wish that more people would know that even a little time spent mentoring a child can make a huge difference for us all.

Click here to read what State Rep. Larry Gonzales has to say about mentoring.