PEARLAND, Texas - When 10-year-old Cara Wyatt and her mentor, Dell Mara Lovell see each other for 30 minutes each Wednesday, they usually make slime. Yes, slime. It's Cara's favorite activity.
"I'm somebody that just gets to sit and listen. We have all kinds of fun. We make slime. We do crafts," explains Lovell.
Cara is bright and sociable, but it was her mother, Christy Bulerez-Wyatt's concern that brought Lovell into their lives.
"Unfortunately, my children can no longer see their father, and that's something I don't know how to help her through."
That's where Pearland ISD's RISE Mentoring program has made a difference for them.
"She's a trusting friend, she's just like another mom in your life," Cara told ABC13.
Her mother seconds that whole-heartedly.
"She needed a safe person that I could trust and that she could trust, that could just be there for both of us really," Bulerez-Wyatt said.
Mentoring program for students
While many programs, including RISE Mentoring, step in to help troubled kids, Mentor specialist Mandy Benedix doesn't think you need to wait for trouble.
"We very much believe mentoring can be preventative, that's why we do K-12, we can get ahead of a lot of things, and your entire life, we're going to want you seeking out mentors," said Benedix.
RISE Mentoring provides volunteer mentors to 370 children in Pearland schools. Mentors undergo the same background checks which are used by the district, offer references, and train in small groups before meeting their student match.
"I'll admit, the first time I walked into a school I was scared to death, because it was something new for me," said Lovell.
But now, she can't imagine missing her time each week with Cara.
"You can help someone, and you can help yourself even more."