The Youth Villages mentoring program offers adults the chance to become a positive force in a child’s life, and each mentor-mentee relationship is special in its own way.

Mentoring for Sid Phadke, a product manager, meant stepping outside of his comfort zone and seeing life through the eyes of a child who has had a completely different life experience than him.

“It is a very unique experience for me,” Sid said. “It was definitely something I wanted to do in terms of giving back, but it also challenges me. I enjoy building a relationship with my mentee, Samuel*.”

Sid learned about Youth Villages’ mentoring program through a friend who works for the organization, and joined after his wife, who also mentors, encouraged him to try it. He has been mentoring for almost a year now, and is paired with his second mentee since starting the program.

“It is so great being part of the mentoring program,” Sid said. “I went in wondering if I had something I could offer a child, but along the way I learned just being there for the child gives them what they need.”

Sid and 9-year-old Samuel have been paired for almost five months, and they let the relationship flow naturally. They spend time doing things a typical 9-year-old would enjoy, and Sid passes on life lessons when the opportunity presents itself.

“We always do fun stuff like go to the zoo,” Sid said. “We have gone bowling and to Bass Pro Shop. We ride go-carts, and bumper cars, and we usually wrap up our day with a meal.”

Sid is happy he decided to take the leap to become a mentor, and he hopes to continue mentoring for a long time.

DISCLAIMER: Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child.