Coming Full Circle

Getting to know each other on the front porch

Getting to know each other on the front porch

Charlie walked up the steps to Cherokee Creek Boys School on his first day…eyes averted, head down, anxious and awkward. “Hi, I’m Josh,” said one of the veteran students as he walked up to Charlie with his hand held out in greeting. Charlie gave a half-hearted hand shake and mumbled his name. Josh said, “Hey, look, let me show you around some; we can shoot pool or something.” Within 30 minutes Josh and Charlie were talking, shooting pool and becoming fast friends.

Josh was filling the role of “student mentor,” who helps orient a new student to his surroundings. Cherokee Creek Boys School is “the small school with a big heart,” and Josh was doing one of the things that helps to make a new student feel safe and comfortable. A student’s perspective of what is important to know is often different from a staff’s perspective. A student can relate well to another student, which in turn helps ease the transition into the new environment.

Coming full circle, here was this confident and reassuring mentor who just 14 months earlier was the awkward, scared and unsure new student himself.

Whom do you mentor, and who mentors you?

Phil Fairbrother is the Operations Director at Cherokee Creek Boys School, a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys ages 11-15 in Upstate South Carolina. Phil has been with CCBS since 2003.

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