Mentor Spotlight: Meet Shawn, 'A Good Man'

Shawn and James during a Bright Start Program mentor session.

Who: Shawn Reilly

Role: Bright Start Mentor

Mentor Since: October 2015

Bright Start is our groundbreaking education program that pairs elementary-age children requiring additional assistance in reading, math, and science with volunteer mentors who meet with students every week for a two-hour session. Trained by Project Hope Alliance and Every Monday Matters, Bright Start mentors function as mentors, coaches, and motivators. Read more about this innovative education program here.

1) WHAT IS YOUR WHY?

I was challenged to do for one what I would want to do for many. In other words, nearly every day we see people in need, and we can only do so much. But if I can invest every week into the life of one person, then maybe I can help make a difference in that person's life.

2) WHAT COMPONENT OF BRIGHT START DO YOU MOST ENJOY WITH YOUR MENTEE?

The relationship that James and I share together is worth it all. As a mentor, he has been able to trust and depend upon me, and that means a ton. Earning his trust and growing in our relationship is one of the best attributes to having a safe and healthy friendship. We really enjoy time together where we can have fun.   

This is my second year mentoring my mentee. My plan is to stick with him as long as I am able. Consistency is so important to building trust.
— Shawn

3) FAVORITE MENTORING MOMENT TO DATE?

Many moments, but probably the way he likes to introduce me to others by saying, "I am a good man." Once trust is earned and friendship is shared, there are plenty of moments he will let others know about. 

4) IN WHAT WAYS HAS MENTORING IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?

It has reminded me of how important it is to just be with one another and not perform my way through some expectation or output. Early on in the program, I was reminded by Sam of Project Hope Alliance to just love on James rather than be frustrated in trying to get through a lesson plan or desired goal. I was more concerned about performing my way through lesson plans and conversations, and lost track that he wanted us to just enjoy one another. Once I was able to sit back and enjoy our time together, it was amazing how much his trust of me and our relationship developed. There is no greater joy than to share in such a relationship and make a difference in his life.  

5) WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU'RE NOT CHANGING THE LIVES OF OUR YOUNG LEARNERS?

I am a husband to my wife Cindy of 26 years, father to three kids—Shannon, Kelly, and Keegan—and have the awesome opportunity to serve as the executive director and interim head of staff at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church of Newport Beach.  


Interested in joining Team Kid as a mentor?