Mental illness can present itself in many different ways, but it’s not always in the way we might think. Nick and Insha were first introduced to Compeer Rochester’s youth and family mentoring program due to quite devastating events. When Nick was about 7 years old, he came across a lighter and accidently set Insha’s bedroom on fire. This event ultimately introduced them to the juvenile fire setter intervention program. Nick did so well in his education, he was invited to meet with the captain of a fire department who recommended Compeer Rochester for its beneficial mentoring program.
Nick began a one-on-one match as well as take part in Compeer’s youth and family support program along with his mother Insha. Nick himself has been very grateful for the impact that Compeer has had on his life. “Compeer has been there to support me through some major life changing events,” Nick comments.
Both mother and son credit Nick’s mentor Joe as a huge factor in Nick’s overall growth and improvement. “Joe is the bomb!” Insha exclaims. “I wouldn’t change him for anything.”
When Nick and Joe first met, Nick was young boy and now that he’s a teenager, Joe has been able to witness the change in life stages and the challenges and barriers that come with them. However, despite it all, Joe has provided guidance, motivation, emotional support and so much more. Nick has shared with his mother how easy it is for him to talk to Joe about things that are important to him without feeling shameful or embarrassed. “My favorite thing about Joe is that he’s never made Nick or I feel that we weren’t equal to him or that we were different because of our diverse lifestyle, environment, and culture. I have so much respect for him.”
Nick and Insha’s experience with the family support program at Compeer has been equally gratifying. They say this in large part because of Maggie Burgos, their family mentoring advocate.
“Maggie amazes me with her passion, knowledge, and dedication,” Insha remarks. “If you haven’t had the pleasure, Maggie demands respect and holds no punches when she’s on the job. Maggie never gave me the illusion that she knew it all and if there was any information that she didn’t feel comfortable or confident in, she would do the research.”
Due to the program, Nick and Insha’s communication has evolved exponentially. Nick and Insha credit Compeer and Joe for sharing both verbally and visually how success can look to different people and how it’s okay to be different. “Our involvement with Compeer has helped us become better people and learn how to depend on ourselves as a team. Nick and I, we value family in a healthier and overall better way now,” Insha says.
Insha is clearly an incredibly caring and hard working mother, who wants nothing more than the best for her son. “It’s not about me or how Compeer has impacted my life, though it has. I just wanted this for Nick. I wanted him to see that there is more to life than his environment and circumstances.”
Insha continues, “Nick has always seen me go to work, finish school, and promote success and happiness. I wanted him to see what his hard work and effort could look like. I want him to know what success and happiness feels like.”
Because of the success that they’ve both achieved due to Compeer, Nick has even considered becoming a mentor himself. He’s also commented that he would love the opportunity to share his experience and how his involvement with Compeer has truly touched his life. “It has been such a great honor to be involved with Compeer,” Insha says.