To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions


Posted on Feb 15, 2018 by Steve Kelton


Three  years ago I was asked to participate in “Point the Way”, a mentoring program sponsored by VBSD. This program started as a vision of 4 counselors at Butterfield Trail Middle School and they worked until their vision became reality. Their model has been used on a state and even national level as a “how to” to build a mentoring program. 

     I thought this would be a great way to share my story with some young men who had not had a perfect childhood. I knew I had a great life as a kid due entirely to Emma Lee and Bill Kelton, who I am privileged to call Mom and Dad. I also knew there were kids who had a rough time growing up but until I met the first young man assigned to me I had never had a relationship with any of them. Man, did that change!

     His name was Tim (not his real name). He lived with his mother and didn’t know his dad. We quickly  became good friends. As a group we went to a Naturals baseball game, an Arkansas Tech football game and a UAFS basketball game. It was Tim’s first experience at any kind of sporting event. I was so blessed to experience things I took for granted through the eyes of a young man who was amazed at what we saw. To this day, I still think his favorite part was the concession stand! Tim then graduated from high school and we moved on although we still keep in touch by texts.

     This year I was requested by a young man John (not his real name) I met at the Star luncheon that Heritage hosts’ once a month. Yes, he asked a leader if I could be his mentor. I knew a little about his home life by being around him at the luncheons. It wasn’t great but you would never know that when we were together. He was always upbeat and positive and loved to crack wise. John is a junior this year so we will have another year together.

     This program means a lot to the students involved but what they get from it is nothing compared to the blessings I receive from learning to see life through the eyes of the less fortunate. On a bad day I just have to think about Tim and John and their approach to life. I am ashamed at the things that trouble me. I can always call my folks for encouragement, I always have electricity at home and I certainly know where my next meal is coming from. These things most of us take for granted are not always a sure thing for these two young men. Sure, I have taught them about baseball, how to shake hands and even which fork to use at the dinner table but what I have learned from them is far more important. I have learned that all some young men need is someone who cares enough to spend time with them. I have been so blessed to hang out with them and look forward to another year with John. Thank you Tim and John for letting me be a part of your lives.

 Blessed and highly favored, Steve Kelton


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