Rebekah and Muna - Match of the Month

Winooski, VT:


Family.


That’s the word Rebekah Silver, one of DREAM’s Community Organizers serving in Winooski, used to describe her relationship with her mentee Muna. Rebekah and Muna were first matched in 2020, the summer after Rebekah’s junior year of college. She was serving in DREAM’s summer enrichment program at Elm Street when they met. “She actually asked me to be her mentor,” said Rebekah, “and I was like ‘of course! I kind of feel like I already am.’” The two clicked just about instantly when the summer began and never looked back, as their relationship continues today. “She’s really outgoing, she’s really sassy…and she loves DREAM. It's her favorite thing in the whole world.”


Rebekah and Muna have been matched for over two years now, even after Rebekah graduated college and began serving as an AmeriCorps member for DREAM. During that time, their relationship has only grown closer. They talk all the time, and Rebekah is a regular visitor to Muna’s family home. “I was with them this morning…they [are] like my family here.” She values the relationships she’s made with Muna’s family, but she’s been stressed on how important it is to have individual time with Muna. This can occasionally be difficult, since Muna’s older sister has become one of Rebekah’s closest friends, too, and she has a relationship with all ten of Muna’s siblings. In part because of the size of Muna’s family, Muna has expressed that her relationship with Rebekah is extremely special and valuable to her. “She comes [to the community center] every single day….she’s told me herself that coming to see me is the highlight of her day.” So, while Rebekah has become like a part of Muna’s family, Muna still wants “her person.”

Muna and Rebekah spend their time together playing board games, making arts and crafts, reviewing homework, and chatting at the DREAM community center. Rebekah also takes Muna to gymnastics classes every Wednesday, classes that they raised funds for together last spring. Muna has become inspired by Simeone Biles, and they watch videos of her all the time. So much so that Rebekah gifted Muna a poster of Biles posing before a routine. “I feel like I’m just giving her that space to be herself and have that attention just on her…and I see it as a two way thing. I really value my time with her, too. Like, when I got home from winter break I felt like I really needed to see Muna, I needed to spend time with Muna…just because she makes me happy.”


The mutually beneficial nature of their relationship is a huge part of Rebekah’s mentoring philosophy. She makes certain to bring Muna into her own personal life rather than having Muna only share hers. Muna has introduced Rebekah to her friends, and likewise, Rebekah has brought Muna to meet her roommates. When they chat in the community center about personal topics, Rebekah will share something about her as well. Rebekah’s experience with Muna leads her to believe that kids really want to be taken seriously, they don’t want to be talked to like they’re just kids all the time. “And with Muna especially, she’s incredibly mature for her age and has been through a lot. And so our conversations are very much like between two friends.”


Rebekah and Muna continue to display the lasting power of a mentor/mentee relationship and how important the relationship is to both mentor and mentee. While Rebekah doesn’t know for certain what the future holds, without a doubt she concludes: “I have no concerns that we will be in touch for…a long time.”



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