A relationship between a mentor and mentee requires finding the right balance between becoming a trusted friend yet still imparting wisdom and giving advice. It’s more challenging when the mentee has suffered trauma or abuse. But every once and a while, a relationships flourishes so quickly that it seems fateful.
Case in point: UCAN President’s Board member Bob Loveman met his mentee Elisabet at the Youth Leadership Awards Banquet in 2013.
“Elizabet mentioned in her speech that she would be attending the University of Colorado. I was impressed by her speech and arranged to meet her. Since she arrived here my wife and I have taken her under our wing,” said Bob. “We helped her gain Colorado residency and have been friends and mentors. We have a very good relationship and we’ve helped her with her financial affairs and obtaining a student visa. Liz is now starting her senior year. She is studying in Costa Rica and will be going to Spain.”
In addition to his close relationship with Elizabet, Bob has helped other young people over the years. “I used to hire some UCAN students to work at my firm in Chicago part time. My wife and I have mentored college students and recent graduates since 1990. We really enjoy connecting with smart young people who are trying to get ahead,” he explained. “We don’t have any kids and we are not parental but we have a lot of connections and can brainstorm with young people. We can give them advice. It is very fulfilling.
“When I was on the board for Family Care of Illinois,” he continued, “we decided to do a strategic search to merge with another organization that was similar to Family Care. UCAN [then Uhlich Children’s Home] was overwhelming a better fit than the other agencies. The melding of the boards and the common spirit was great. I give credit to Tom [Vanden Berk, UCAN CEO Emeritus], the staff and the board.”
After serving on the governing board for some time, Bob relocated his family to Colorado but continued to assist UCAN through his role on the President’s Board whose primary function is to bring resources and funds to the organization.
Why engage others to get involved with UCAN? “Supporting social services agencies who are taking on important tasks is a great way to help youth,” said Bob.
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