Jim and Diana

After retiring from teaching in the Sisters School District,Diana felt burdened about the heavy issues and changingfamily dynamics young people face today. “I felt compelled todo something, I just didn’t know what.” After reading anarticle about the newly formed Circle of Friends, she did someresearch. “Duncan Campbell’s story touched my heart, and Icouldn’t believe he’d started an outreach to kids in our littletown. After meeting with Beth, Jim and I were hooked.” The Prichards were first matched with a 3rd grade boy.Unfortunately, after a few months he and his mom movedaway. “It was difficult to face the reality that sometimes, inspite of our intentions of being lasting friends, the relationshipends. We hope he remembers that people care about him, andwe pray he found positive relationships in his new community,said Diana.Beth, from COF, was ready with another match for us. Aftermeeting ‘Fred’, we wondered why he needed a mentor. Hisfamily is loving and close, and Fred is confident and outgoing.We learned he did have some issues with self-discipline andwas a frequent visitor to the principal’s office. It surprised uswhen we received a report soon after being matched, thatFred’s visits to the principal’s office had dropped off sharply.We know that mentors do not often see such quick changes inbehavior, but for some reason, for Fred, being a part of Circleof Friends had an immediate and measurable impact on him.Fred is inquisitive and loves to watch programs abouthistorical events, inventions and animals. His mentors’nickname for him is The Question Box. Jim says, “I canrelate; I was just like him as a kid, driving adults crazy with allof my questions. It’s fun to research topics with Fred and helphim do simple science experiments. We also do a lot ofbuilding projects. He recently used a small sander to help me refurbish some railings. When we took him home, he greetedhis dad and proudly said, ‘I worked like a man today!’ Hecracks us up with his comments and insights.”Fred has also enjoyed the benefits of the wonderful programsprovided by Circle of Friends partners. He rides his favoritehorse at Crystal Peaks, creates with Annie Painter, and islooking forward to being on a SPRD basketball team.The relationship is not free of challenges. Occasionally, Fredgets upset over something at school. The usually talkative kidhides away and shuts down all conversation. This is somethinghis mentors continue to address with him.Both Diana and Jim encourage others to step up to mentoring.“You don’t need a lot of special skills or resources to be aFriend. You just need to be a person who is present for thechild, a person who listens and cares. You will make adifference.”