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The past three semesters Kate and Leilani Hernandez (Lani) have been paired up as mentee and mentor through IMPACT, Solidarity’s Leadership Development Program.

As a new 7th grader, Kate joined IMPACT.  She and Leilani met but the first few meetings were slightly directionless. Naming and defining her goals proved to be difficult – Kate didn’t know what to expect and was hoping Lani would just tell her what to do.  Lani, on the other hand, could see the potential in Kate, that Kate had not recognized in herself, and was encouraging her to find her voice.

The first year Lani understood that she had to direct Kate.  She helped Kate set her goals, giving her suggestion of what to pursue.  They made a commitment to meet weekly, but Lani had to remind her weekly about each meeting.  Kate passed the first level allowing her to go the Oaks Winter Camp where she got to experience God in a transformational way.

Insecurity and shyness has always been a hurdle in Kate’s life.  This, coupled with the newness of IMPACT, led to Kate taking a passive stance when it came to goal setting, meeting up, and initiating with Lani.

The first year of IMPACT and going to the Oaks shifted something in Kate.  She found her voice.  She discovered a new confidence.  And Lani was there walking with her, affirming her ideas and thoughts, while encouraging her to feel assured about her choices.

For a young Jr. High girl, having a mentor who affirmed Kate’s often quiet voice, was life-changing.

A year and a half later, Kate and Lani are still walking together.  Only this past semester, Kate is the one who is reaching out to Lani to remind her of their meetings and keeping Lani accountable to her goals.  Kate came into this session already knowing what areas she wanted to work on.  Their mentoring meetings have a whole new energy, as if Kate is starting to see the woman God created her to be and is motivated to step into that life.

Self-doubt and insecurity still creep into Kate’s mind.  So this semester Kate chose to work on that area.  She asked Leilani how she could combat that, and Lani offered a few disciplines she could try.  Lani gave Kate a list of “Sample Affirmations” - words and scriptures that speak to the truth of being a child of God.  She asked Kate to choose a few that stood out to her, and then every morning Lani challenged her to say them out loud. Beyond that, Kate initiated her own rhythm of journaling to help her see the journey and the lessons God was providing.  It’s always been Solidarity culture to use Words of Life with our friends, but Kate was seeing how important it is to use them for herself as well.

Instead of believing the lies that enemy was telling her, Kate literally spoke God’s words of life over her situation. 

Kate’s often quiet voice was becoming so much more.  Through God’s movement, IMPACT, and Lani’s mentoring, Kate’s voice is becoming stronger, more confident, and founded in truth.