The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
Home > Uncategorized > PPG engineer connects with fifth grader

PPG engineer connects with fifth grader

Spotlight on Mentoring | January 2013

Dalewyn Spinks, a maintenance engineer at PPG Industries has been mentoring Broderick since October of last year.

On a recent Wednesday morning, Dalewyn Spinks arrived at Southwest Elementary School to spend his lunch break with Broderick, the shy fifth grader he’s been meeting with on a weekly basis since October.

Spinks was a little early so he waited patiently for the young man he was matched with through the Communities In Schools of Lexington/Davidson County mentoring program.

“How do you like your Christmas present?” Spinks asked when Broderick finally appeared at the front desk.

Broderick, who transferred to Southwest at the beginning of the school year from Cook Elementary School in Winston-Salem, looked down at the blue socks he wore pulled up to his knees and smiled.

“I like them,” he answered quietly.

Though their relationship is only a few months old, Spinks and Broderick display an easy friendship, bantering about where they would eat that day.

Broderick smiled sheepishly before suggesting Golden Corral, his favorite.

“Have you been good this week?” Spinks asked.

Grinning again, Broderick admitted he’d had a few slipups.

“We’re going to McDonald’s then,” Spinks laughed.

Spinks, a maintenance engineer at PPG Industries, chose to be trained as a CIS mentor after a coworker mentioned the program to him. As a child, he said, he had a similar relationship with an adult who guided him and motivated him to reach the level of success he enjoys today.

“It means a lot,” Spinks said of his ability to now give back to a young person in the same way. “I see the way a mentor changed my life, taking me from a negative situation to my current, well-maintained situation. I just hope I can influence Broderick to make the sacrifices he needs to make while he’s young, (such as) not trying to do things that make him look cool so he can fit in now; that way he can have an established life in the future, support himself and help others.”

During their visits to area restaurants each week, Spinks and Broderick set goals and talk about any issues Broderick is having that might prevent him from meeting those goals.

“We both enjoy eating. I spend a lot of my time with him trying to understand how he is feeling and what I can do to make his day better,” Spinks said. “He enjoys just talking and I enjoy listening.”

Spinks, affectionately known as “D” to Broderick, admitted that the most challenging thing about being a new mentor is building trust and respect.

“Initially (Broderick) would not say much to me, but after following through on promises and treating him with the utmost respect the tables turned,” he said, noting his surprise at the readiness with which Broderick finally accepted him, a stranger, into his life. “When I first started meeting with him I didn’t expect him to be so honest with me so quickly. I expected it to be a little more difficult to gain his trust.”

So far, Spinks has helped Broderick focus on getting his schoolwork completed on time and reducing the number of times he gets into trouble each week.

“His teachers tell me he has definitely improved in terms of his attitude, respect, and patience,” Spinks said. “The biggest thing I hope he takes away (from working with me) is the importance of respecting others. Having respect for grownups and other kids will take him further than anything else in the world.”

For Spinks, being Broderick’s mentor is rewarding on many levels, allowing him to remain grounded with his own roots in sight while witnessing firsthand the impact he’s making on a future generation.

“I don’t ever want to outlive where I come from or let where I could have been be forgotten. (Being a mentor) lets you experience life from another point of view while making a difference. These kids are not in a particular situation because they want to be, but because they have no choice.”

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.