Name: Becky Mickel
Volunteer Position: Teen Internship Programming Coordinator
Occupation: Associate Editor, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine
Years Served at TRUE Mentors: 18 months
Favorite quote: “All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” – John Gunther (I would amend that to read, “All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast [and at least 30 minutes of the Today Show].”)
Favorite book: The Defining Decade (It has actually defined this crazy decade I’m living, my 20s)
Favorite movie: Love Actually (Actually, no jokes here)
When did you first get involved with TRUE Mentors and why?
I was first introduced to TRUE Mentors through Hoboken Grace church, where I am a member. Rebecca Denaro was invited to the front of the congregation to discuss the impact she was making locally with underprivileged youth, and from that moment, I was totally hooked and knew I had to get involved. I’ve always been a believer in the universal currency of education, and simultaneously, have always enjoyed helping friends and family with college planning and applications, so I viewed volunteering for True Mentors as the perfect outfit to merge these two passions.
What program do you volunteer for and what has your experience been like?
I volunteer for the Teen Internship Program, a college and career readiness program for local high school juniors and seniors. Those admitted are paired with a local business for a 12-week paid internship and also receive hands-on mentoring and feedback through the help of a group of eight volunteers and workshops led by business and college professionals. The experience has been rewarding, humbling, collaborative, and fun! I work alongside bright volunteers and students who challenge my thinking and inspire me to give a little bit more, each day.
What is your favorite TRUE Mentors moment?
In Summer 2015, I chaperoned a group of students to visit Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. One student, Xenia David, hemmed and hawed but agreed to give up her Saturday to visit the college, and in just five short hours, her outlook on the university and attending college changed dramatically (she morphed from an arms-crossed teen to one skipping and smiling and brimming with questions). I’m excited and proud to share that she’ll be enrolling as a Rutgers first-year in Fall 2016.
How has being a part of the TRUE Mentors community changed you? Challenged you? Rewarded you?
Being a part of the TRUE Mentors community has in tandem made me more entrenched in the Hoboken community and has encouraged me to step – and think – outside of my 24-year-old bubble. It has taught me to approach volunteering not as a series of standalone projects, but as a sustained effort to generate long-term change and momentum. It’s rewarding to give self-conscious but curious teenagers the tools and training they need to become confident adults, a trajectory that has a domino effect on the cousins, siblings, and friends, they can then influence. It’s challenging to find a happy medium. I have to balance the desire to push interns to their fullest potential, and therefore, set the bar unrealistically high, alongside the unfortunate circumstances that they don’t often have the advantages, or even realities, that more affluent teens are privy.
In 10 words or less describe the volunteer experience at TRUE Mentors.
“Through love serve one another … Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galations 5:13-14)