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The Griffith Files: Delayed Gratification

The Griffith Files: Delayed Gratification

9 months, 4 weeks ago Mary Griffith

 

At a Quincy Art Center gallery opening recently, I came across a lovely young woman I have known since she was a child.  What she said about me made joyful tears well in my eyes.

 I was introduced to Danielle Mast when she was a first grader at Berrian School.  Following in my mother's footsteps, I had volunteered to be a one-on-one mentor in a program at the Quincy Public Schools.  They paired me with Danielle, who at the time was struggling with her reading skills.  Danielle was smart and eager to learn.  We spent a half hour each week on a big comfy couch in the hall outside her classroom.  Just the two of us.  I was patient and encouraging.  She started to learn and gained confidence.  At the end of first grade, Danielle could read.

When second grade rolled around, I asked to continue my mentor relationship with Danielle.  We worked on her reading skills every week.  I met her parents and her siblings.  Danielle and I started doing things together outside of Berrian School.  With her teacher's permission, I started to be a classroom helper for all the second graders in her class.

The years rolled by.  Eventually I had four children to mentor.  I took them all to the movies, to the theatre, horseback riding, to show them the radio station, to my house to bake cookies (what a mess), to art shows and to concerts.

Danielle is now a Senior at Quincy High.  When I tapped her on the shoulder at the art gallery, she gave me a big hug.  She caught me up on her family and her plans after graduation.  She is going to John Wood College.  She was with her friends, so I didn't want to monopolize her time.  We hugged again and I walked away feeling very happy.  One of Danielle's friends asked her, "Who was that?"  I was out of the room, but not out of earshot when I heard her reply, "Oh, that's Miss Griffith.  She is my mentor.  She taught me to read."

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