A Chance Meeting Began 12 Years of Mentoring
- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On August 11, 2020
- Chicago, Chicago suburbs, DV agency, mentor, northwest chicago, Project Lifeline, Volunteer, volunteer domestic violence agency, WINGS Program
At a luncheon, Judy Peterson sat next to someone from WINGS. She asked them to tell her more about WINGS and she learned all about Project Lifeline. Little did she know the impact of a chance meeting that would begin 12 years of mentoring.
WINGS Project Lifeline
Project Lifeline is a program that links community members, Mentors, with women who are homeless or victims of domestic violence, completed WINGS Housing Programs or received outreach counseling through WINGS.
Mentors are trained and receive ongoing support while they provide one-on-one encouragement to women seeking an enhanced quality of life and financial stability.
After hearing about Project Lifeline, Judy agreed to be a Mentor and went to several training classes. Being an RN, WINGS partnered Judy with Sharee, a single mother of a son, who was interested in becoming a nurse.
“She never judged me…”
Sharee said, “I was so nervous to open up to Judy the first few times I met with her. I did not really want to share what I had been through with her, but Judy was so patient with me that I eventually opened up to her.
She never judged me; she encouraged me, prayed for me, loved me, and shared her family with me. She has a heart of gold. She’s very kind and loving, and I know that WINGS sent her to me, but I believe God did too. She’s an Angel from above.”
A New Career
Over the years, Judy was able to help Sharee get into a Respiratory Therapist program. Although challenging, Sharee did well in her classes, passed her state certification tests and graduated. Judy and her husband, Tom, proudly attended the ceremony.
Sharee said, “Judy and Tom were there for me every step of the way. There were times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it through the Respiratory program, but Judy and Tom helped me get through it.
They listened to me cry over the phone and told me not to give up, that I was doing a good job. Those were words that I needed to hear, ‘Keep working hard my girl, you can do this,’ words from Judy that stay in my head, even to this day.”
“We all need a Judy in our lives…”
As a single mom, Sharee sought advice many times as it wasn’t easy raising a son on her own. Judy was always there when Sharee needed her, easy to talk to and giving sound advice.
Judy and Tom attended Sharee’s son’s 8th grade graduation too, having gotten to know him over the years as well. This year, he graduated from high school and is beginning college this fall.
“I am forever grateful that WINGS and God brought Judy into our lives. I pray that the women in the WINGS program can also be blessed as I was to have an opportunity to meet a beautiful Mentor like Judy.
We all need a Judy in our lives, each and every one of us. I don’t know how my life would have turned out without someone so loving, caring and supportive.
I did not have anyone like her in my life, and I needed her; God knew that and sent her to me.”
Part of the Family
As Judy retired from her Mentor role, she said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring Sharee.
At a WINGS dinner a few years ago, Sharee was honored as the outstanding Mentee of the year. My husband and I were her family for the occasion.
We are very proud of her. She really has become a member of our family.”
Bruna Srb, WINGS Manager of Volunteer Services said, “Judy dedicated her passion, talent and wisdom as a Mentor to our graduates.
It is amazing to find a dedicated volunteer that embraces the mission of our organization and has offered her help for so many years. WINGS is so blessed to have had Judy help for so long. Her commitment to us is commendable and inspiring.”
Are You Interested in Becoming a Mentor?
“We all need a Judy in our lives…” Many survivors, like Sharee, benefit from this encouraging support.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or volunteering in another way, contact Bruna today.