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YWCA Mankato highlights National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month helps highlight everything YWCA Mankato does for the community.
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 9:02 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Making a difference in someone’s life can leave a heartwarming feeling and an urge to keep helping.

That’s exactly how Jasmin Kotek feels when she volunteers for YWCA Mankato’s Girls on the Run program.

“We are able to teach these girls that if we are able to do it then you’re able to do it too and just really get them to believe in themselves,” Kotek said.

Kotek gives her time to mentor young girls and build up their confidence so they can eventually grow up with a strong head on their shoulders.

“You work on all different things with the girls, you have lesson plans, but it is more than just running, which is deceiving because the name is Girls on the Run, but you teach them life skills and you are that role model. Just a consistent figure in their lives that they wouldn’t probably have otherwise,” she described/

That’s why National Mentoring Month helps highlight everything YWCA Mankato does for the community and beyond.

“We do more group mentoring so our mentors have a team of 12-14 girls and they also have other mentors with them that really feed off of, which, I think, is really fun when you have a ton of mentors in a different setting because no two people are the same and no two youth are the same either,” explained Lydia Jagodzinski, youth programming coordinator at YWCA Mankato.

Especially when people who work the YWCA and Girls on the Run can see with their own eyes the lives that they are positively impacting.

“And we had a specific youth that was really struggling in all of her classes,” Jagodzinski said. “She wasn’t going to school, she was failing classes, skipping school, all of that. She was in one of our programs and really connected with the mentors she had in her group. At the end of the program, she was so excited to tell me and a specific mentor that she was no longer failing her classes, passing everything and no longer skipping school anymore.”

“Last spring, her parents called and said well we are not picking you up for X amount of hours. We were like what do we do, but right away the thing she said was, well that is okay because I get to hang out with you then,” Kotek said.

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