The Litchfield Area Mentorship Program-Kinship is proud to honor Cheryl Whitchurch and Aniya this month as our newest Match Highlight. Aniya and Cheryl have been sharing experiences for a little over 2 years, and their relationship is a true win-win situation. Together they learn from each other, have fun, and grow.
When Cheryl first met Aniya she was very withdrawn and shy. She had difficulty asking for what she needed or wanted. Aniya is now more comfortable with new activities and she is becoming more confident in herself. She has now joined a children’s church choir on her own and has even climbed to the top of the rock wall!
Cheryl and Aniya both think that their relationship is especially unique. Prior to being matched, they had begun a relationship in a different context. Cheryl was Aniya’s third grade teacher. They would both say they were ecstatic when they found out they were to be matched together through LAMP. They enjoy their own traditions like going for ice cream or pizza. They also enjoy visiting the residents at Ecumen together, going to the movies, playing with Lucy the dog, and going for walks. Cheryl said, “Aniya is very compassionate and is able to communicate very effectively with the elderly. Older adults recognize her compassion and beauty and love her in return.” They have also enjoyed many LAMP group activities together over the past two years. The group activities have allowed for growth and exploration in new skills and interests.
What brought Cheryl to LAMP is her love for children’s enthusiasm and energy. She wanted to find a meaningful way to stay connected with youth activities in the community after her own children were grown. Cheryl also commented that she believes LAMP-Kinship is an exemplary resource to our community, and she is honored to be able to support our local program.
LAMP has given Cheryl and Aniya the opportunity to continue their relationship long-term. Aniya’s mom said that the best part of participating in LAMP has been watching Aniya blossom and learn that being herself is perfect. She also added that LAMP has helped with initiating friendships, helped Aniya realize how beautiful she is, and given her opportunities to step out of her comfort zone with LAMP group activities. Cheryl said being a mentor or mentee is an opportunity to give to the other, and give-give opportunities are always meaningful. When Aniya was asked what her favorite part of being matched with Cheryl was, she simply answered, “She cares about me, and I have fun doing whatever she has planned.”
LAMP-Kinship is proud and thankful to have such outstanding youth and mentors involved in our program. Thank you Cheryl and Aniya for all you add to our program and community!