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It takes a village

POSTED June 24, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Many have heard the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" and agree with its sentiment. But few actually take the time to nurture and support all the children in their community.

I was lucky enough to feel cared for from not just my parents, but other adults I came in contact with during my formative years. There is a list of teachers, Sunday school  and scouting leaders, and friends of the family who went out of their way to offer encouragement, support or just a sympathetic ear.

But there is one person who stands out in my memory because she came into my life when I needed it most.

When I was 11 years old my mother and I moved to a new town. My parents were going through a divorce and not only was I starting sixth grade an hour away from all my friends, but my mom took a full-time job for the first time since I was born.

Needless to say, it was a lot of change to deal with at one time.

I eventually grew to love my new home and school, and got used to my parents living apart, but the first few months were really hard. I'm not sure I would have adjusted as well as I did without the support of one special woman.

Garnet Pryor worked part-time in my mother's office. She was a retiree who just needed something to do now that her children — and grandchildren — were all grown. It didn't take long for Garnet to adopt me as her honorary granddaughter. She let me sit at her desk and do homework, so I wouldn't be home alone, and was always willing to give me a ride to the store. Thanks to Garnet, I was also able to participate in the all-star cheerleading squad. She spent two days sewing the required all-star outfit, so I could cheer with my new friends.

This difficult time in my life would have been a lot worse if it wasn't for the mentoring Garnet gave to a child she hardly knew.

This past weekend, I was reminded of the impact Garnet had on my life. A few Turlock Journal employees and I attended a tea fundraiser on Saturday for the Sierra Vista Child and Family Services mentoring program. During the tea, two community members who donate their time mentoring foster children talked about how the experience has changed them for the better.

Sierra Vista directors also talked about the positive impact mentors have on foster children, who benefit greatly from dependable adult role models.

Although I was not a foster child, I know first-hand how much of a difference a supportive adult  can make in a child's life. It doesn't take much to make a difference in a child's life — a few kind words or an hour helping with homework.

If  you are able to offer a little more, however, I encourage you to get information about Sierra Vista's mentoring program by visiting www.sierravistacares.org/volunteer/be-a-mentor or calling 491-0872.

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