Mentoring in a COVID-19 World

The transition to middle school was not easy for one Arthur Project mentee, Chance. Being on the autism spectrum made a completely new environment overwhelming for Chance.

“Chance was really lost when he started middle school. He had to make all new friends, and everything was so different for him,” his mom Cassandra explained. “I cannot even tell you how thankful I am for The Arthur Project. They gave him a real sense of belonging, having the chance to connect with other kids on Saturday outings and then having a mentor to talk to… not just on weekends, but during the school day, was invaluable to him.”

Chance participated in many Arthur Project activities, traveling all over the city on the train, going to museums and visiting places his mom says he never would have had the opportunity to visit. Chance grew by leaps and bounds in 6th grade and became very close to his first Arthur Project mentor.

In 7th grade, Chance was matched with a new mentor who he says was like an older brother to him. His mom, Cassandra, also joined our pilot Family Advocacy Program, which provides whole family support to the caregivers and families of our mentees. Cassandra and Chance were both working so hard and making so much progress. Then the world turned upside down.

COVID-19 closed the schools and Chance was faced with another big and sudden transition.

“Chance cried when the school closed, and he couldn’t meet with his mentor. Chance never cries for anyone. To me that was such a testament to the program,” his mom said.

Shortly after schools closed, The Arthur Project quickly adapted to an all virtual mentor program.

“When Chance got to start meeting with his mentor and being connected, that was truly a God-send. I got very sick with the virus and The Arthur Project was a real support,” Cassandra said. “Not only did they support Chance, but we received a financial grant for groceries and necessary items and got a laptop for Chance’s schooling. I was amazed by how supportive The Arthur Project was in such a dark time. They went above and beyond for our family and more than I ever expected. It felt like The Arthur Project truly cared about us. They were like family.”