Mina Himlie (she/her), a senior social work major at Augsburg University, has been a GGAL and Healthy Relationships mentor since September 2022. Mina is passionate about social justice and hopes to gain work experience in her field before returning to school for her Masters of Social Work. She wraps up her mentorship at WISE in May 2023.
Read more about Mina and her time as a mentor with WISE!
Q: What drew you to mentor at WISE?
I wanted a chance to work with youth because I hadn't had much experience before this opportunity. I thought it would give me the chance to learn how to interact with and serve them. I was also drawn to the supportive aspect of mentorship.
Q: What are your personal or professional goals as a WISE mentor or intern?
My professional goal was to complete my learning agenda and gain experience working with youth. I wanted to determine if working with a younger population was something that I wanted to do in my future career. As I approach my last days as an intern, I think I've decided that working with young people is a definite possibility in my future.
"I have significantly strengthened my skills working with youth through learning strategies to empower them, learning how to teach workshops, and getting to know what types of activities they like best."
Q: What did you learn from your experience with WISE?
I have significantly strengthened my skills working with youth through learning strategies to empower them, learning how to teach workshops, and getting to know what types of activities they like best. In addition to skills, I'm taking away a great relationships with my supervisors and with the students.
Q: Did you experience any challenges during your mentorship or internship? What were they and how did you overcome the situation?
The initial learning curve was steep. I went into this internship not having interacted with a middle schooler since I was in middle school myself. I felt like I didn't know how to connect with the students, and they were a bit shy around me as well since I was a new face. It took time for us to get to know each other, but through talking with my supervisors and observing how they interacted with the students, I figured out how to balance being myself with being a professional. I made intentional efforts to connect with the students and fully integrate myself into the sessions. It took a while, but in the second semester we seemed to finally get comfortable around each other.
Q: Please share a memory or experience that was significant to you during your mentorship.
On one of the GGAL field trips, I planned to meet everyone at the location. I went inside and was looking around for the others. Finally, I saw them, and they all waved at me. I made my way over, and one of the girls ran up to me and hugged me. I wasn't expecting it, but it made my heart feel so light. It was one of the first times that it truly hit me that I was a significant figure in their lives, not some stranger who was just there and whose presence didn't really mean much.