Jan. 25, 2022
By Sam Buisman – Covenant House Alaska Staff Writer
In honor of National Mentoring Month, we want to spotlight the volunteer work of Melissa Lampert, a mentor at Passage House.
Melissa’s mentor work at Covenant House Alaska stands as a testament to the impact a caring adult can have on a young Alaskan. Over her four-year tenure as a mentor, she has given five young women a guiding hand to hold as they began the journey of motherhood.
Looking back on her service, Melissa believes the relationships she’s had with these women have made a difference in both of their lives.
“I feel truly that there are times where I get to help them,” said Melissa, “and they’re helping me too in ways that they probably don’t even realize.”
We are beyond thankful for Melissa and the work of all of our mentors. They model the tenacious compassion and unconditional love that are the bedrock of our values at Covenant House Alaska.
Becoming a mentor
As an Alaskan native, Melissa had long been aware of Covenant House Alaska but decided to get involved after a chance encounter at her old job.
While working one day at communications firm Northwest Strategies, a co-worker asked Melissa to proofread a brochure they were writing. Fatefully, this brochure was advertising Covenant House Alaska’s mentorship program, and her co-worker must have done a great job — Melissa was sold!
“This brochure was working before they even started handing it out!” she said.
Melissa then applied and was accepted to mentor new or expecting mothers residing at our Passage House facility downtown. In the years since she has become a mainstay to the program and a trusted role model to many of its participants.
Fun and fulfilling service
Under the purview of our mentorship program, Melissa has forged a strong bond with each of her mentees through activities big and small.
Sometimes, her outings with her mentee consist of great Alaskan adventures, like taking a trip to the Wildlife Conservation Center, scarf painting, attending a self-defense class, visiting the Anchorage Zoo and riding on a trolley tour of Anchorage.
Other times, they may be quiet yet intimate projects at Passage House, such as Christmas cookie decorating, throwing a baby shower or cooking a warming meal.
Melissa said that these experiences have brought her closer to the women at Passage House.
“It’s fun to do the activities, but also to see the activities through the girls’ eyes,” said Melissa. “It’s just different, their perspective and their insight.”
Life-long and life-changing relationships
The relationships Melissa has built through mentoring have stood the test of time and given her valuable perspective on her local community.
Melissa said that spending time with these young mothers has shown her their undeniable resiliency and love for their children.
“They just really fight for their kids,” said Melissa. “They’re just like any other mom, they really care about their kiddos and want to give them the best experience that they can have.”
And even though Melissa has mentored five women since entering the program, she is still in close contact with her first mentee, who graduated from our Passage House program and is now Melissa’s neighbor. Just a few weekends ago, this young woman invited Melissa and her husband to attend her child’s third birthday party.
“It’s so cool just to watch her little one grow up,” said Melissa.
Become a mentor today!
Our mission at Covenant House Alaska depends on mentors like Melissa, and we could not be more appreciative of their service. And we are searching for more!
According to Melissa, if you have the time to dedicate to the program, mentoring is a fulfilling and effective way to give back to the community.
“We could all benefit from a good mentor, right?” said Melissa. “At any stage of your life or career, we could all use a good mentor.”
If you would like to apply to be a mentor at Covenant House Alaska or get more information on our program, visit the Mentor page on our website by clicking here.
If you would like to find other ways to volunteer at Covenant House Alaska, visit the Volunteer page on our website here.