Studies show that children and teens with at least one positive role model in their life, have better well-being and outlook on life. At The Settlement Home, there are many ways to connect and volunteer. Some of our volunteers work with a whole cottage; some offer activities for the whole campus. Others provide one-on-one mentorship to some of our kiddos. Meet Ron and Doreen Kent, who are mentors to one of our kids. We caught up with them recently to learn a little more about them. Below is their interview.
Q: Tell us a little about you.
A: We are both from different parts of the country. I (Doreen) was born in upstate New York, raised on a farm, and I love animals. Ron is originally from Fort Worth, TX, and enjoys touring the Texas Hill Country on a motorcycle. We have five grown boys and two granddaughters, are empty-nesters, and really enjoy volunteering on the weekends. We married in 1992 and lived in the Dallas area until 2014, when we decided to take the plunge and move to one of our favorite vacation spots – Austin!
Q: Why is volunteering important to you?
A: We love being mentors, showing the little ones that they’re important and have value, and the relationship we’re able to develop with them. We also believe that if you want to change the world and create a better future, you start with one child at a time.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Those that have persevered against all odds, and have prevailed. Also the awesomeness of Creation!
Q: What brought you to The Settlement Home?
A: We had volunteered at a children’s home for the last couple of years we lived in Dallas, and decided we would look for one in Austin to get involved in after we moved. Doreen found The Settlement Home, and after a few conversations with the awesome staff there, we knew it was the place for us.
Q: How would you describe your role as a volunteer at The Home?
A: We are mentors, and the goal of that role is to actively develop a relationship with our mentee, provide guidance and encouragement to them, and also have fun!
Q: What’s your favorite part of being a volunteer?
A: Seeing the mentee’s smile, laugh, and enjoy themselves. And also encouraging them as they plan their future and set goals.
Q: What kinds of activities do you plan with your kiddo?
A: We love getting out and doing things, especially outside since Austin is so full of fun activities! Sometimes we go to the park and just go for a walk and talk, other times we may go hiking, and sometimes we may take our kiddo to eat at her favorite restaurant or visit interesting stores around town. We also take our mentee to church on Sunday. Our current mentee loves to play math games in the car, so we also do that!
Q: What advice do you have for other volunteers?
A: For current volunteers, communication with the staff and other support team members is crucial, everyone works as a team to ensure the well-being of the kiddos. For those that are considering volunteering, our advice is to just do it! It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of not thinking you have anything of value to offer the little ones, or you don’t have the time or qualifications, etc.. but if you love kids and really want to help, then that’s all it really takes to get started. The Settlement Home has a great training program that will give you the rest of the skills you need. You’d also be surprised at how little time it takes to make a big difference in someone’s life, and by touching that life you will ultimately touch many other lives in the future through them.
We are grateful to Ron, Doreen, and all our volunteers. Find out more about volunteering at The Settlement Home.