Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mentor in the Spotlight: Allyn Dukes

Connecting on Many Levels

Allyn Dukes , the SpringBoard partner mentor coordinator at Meadow Wood Elementary, is enjoying her second year of mentoring Emma, now a fourth grader at the school. When she first met Mrs. Dukes, Emma wondered, “ What is she going to be like?” But it only took “about one day” to figure out that they were going to be a good match!

Emma has noticed what they have most in common is they “both care about each other and other people.” Emma also admires Mrs. Dukes because she is “really nice, really listens, she’s fun and generous.”

This mentor/mentee pair have connected on many levels, including some that are not so easy to define! Mrs. Dukes and Emma were both pretty amazed at the probably-not-so-coincidental incident when Emma lost her lunch money (temporarily), and Mrs. Dukes responded to a subconscious nudge to come to the school to visit Emma on a day she doesn’t normally go to mentor.

Upon arrival, she found Emma looking in her backpack for her lunch money and not able to find it. Mrs. Dukes was able to help out that day and buy her lunch, much to Emma’s relief. After lunch, they went out to the play ground and actually found the lunch money in an envelope, as well as someone else’s lost library book. Emma was able to pay the good turn forward by returning the book to the person who lost it just before a downpour of rain.

Since having a mentor, Emma feels she has grown to be more outgoing, and is more willing tell people how she is feeling instead of holding it inside. Mrs. Dukes notes, “It takes time to learn to trust someone with your feelings,” but that Emma is very willing to do this with her mentor now.

Having raised boys, Mrs. Dukes is enjoying receiving fashion advice from Emma, and learning the importance of being patient when waiting for Emma to trust her and share her thoughts. Mrs. Dukes knew Emma found her to be a reliable and consistent adult in her life when one time she emailed Emma’s teacher about not being able to come that day to see her mentee, but the email did not reach the teacher, so the message didn’t get to Emma. When Mrs. Dukes came the next day to see Emma, and apologized for not being there the day before, Emma told her, “I knew you would come.”

Emma’s dreams for the future include becoming a lawyer (because she “is good at arguing”—according to her mother!), a policewoman or a doctor. She said she does not dream of having a Corvette or Mustang “like most people,” but looks forward to having a gray Equinox for a car! Wherever the road takes her, Mrs. Dukes is certain Emma has the “gifts and talents” to go far.

This dedicated mentor will be there to help her mentee with the skills of time management, goal setting, interpersonal communication, and to help Emma remember that no obstacle is too big if she digs a little to find the solution without getting frustrated.


  1. Way to go, Mrs. Dukes and Emma! This is very heart-warming. . . and encouraging to others to connect and be enriched.

  2. Emma's right: Mrs. Dukes is so kind and generous. She is a dedicated volunteer and a wonderful asset to Meadow Wood!


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