The other day I was reminiscing with an old friend about high school, and we started talking about which were our favourite and least favourite teachers. It had been a while, but that conversation reminded me of my old English Lit teacher, Mr. Z. He was an older guy with grown kids of his own who enjoyed reading Chaucer out loud in Old English and sneaking cigarettes behind the portables after school. Mr. Z was one of those teachers who loved teaching and genuinely liked kids, even us snotty teenagers, and he made English literature interesting.
Around then, I was going through a hard time at home and missing a lot of classes. I didn’t tell anybody at the time, but I was seriously considering dropping out of high school. Mr. Z noticed that things weren’t right, and over a few cigarettes after class he convinced me to talk. He made arrangements with the school administration to provide me with bus fare to help me get to school, and he convinced me to keep coming, even if I didn’t make it every day. He was the reason I finished high school, and it was his support that encouraged me to apply for university and scholarships. We lost touch after high school, but I still think about him every once in a while.
Many of us have had mentors like Mr. Z who made a difference in our lives, but not everyone is so lucky. Having reaped the benefit of more than one mentor in my life, I know firsthand how valuable positive role models can be.
This February, Boston Pizza is celebrating their annual Valentine’s Day campaign in support of mentorship for kids, so they extended an invitation to my girls and me to have a conversation about the importance of mentorship over some heart-shaped pizza.
All month long, Boston Pizza will be raising awareness and donations for the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects which works to connect kids in need with positive role models in their communities. $1 from every pizza sold on February 14th this year will go to support the Boston Pizza Foundation’s work.
We visited our local Boston Pizza and ordered one of their signature pizzas for dinner. Of course, both my girls were enchanted with the pizza’s heart shape. It took a little convincing before they were willing to have me serve slices!
While we enjoyed our meal, I started to talk about mentors. The very first thing Kay said was, “No, don’t want a Dementor!” (We are a Harry Potter family, after all!) So then followed an explanation of what a mentor is: not a scary flying monster in a black robe, but someone we learn from and look up to. Once they understood, Tee said, “Oh, I have a mentor! My teacher Ms. Andrea teaches me and helps me be really good! And you too! You’re my mentor too.” They get it!
Tee and Kay both attend Montessori programs. In Montessori schools, kids are grouped into three year classes instead of individual grades like mainstream schools. This means all the 3 to 5-year-olds are in one class, as are the 6 to 8-year-olds, 9 to 11-year-olds, and so on. This unique arrangement creates a built-in mentorship relationship between older and younger students. My kids have learned so much from the older students in their classes who help teach and guide them. Now that they know the term, they’re both excited to become mentors too when they’re the oldest in their class.
We finished our enlightening meal with a decadent dessert: this Future Prospects dessert with red velvet cake, cheesecake mousse, berry sauce, whipped cream, and a white chocolate coin. It’s not just a tasty treat though. $1 from every dessert sold goes to Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects.
Mentors come in many forms: parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, bosses, even Jedi masters! Most of us had a mentor at some point in our lives, but 1 in 3 Canadian kids don’t get enough time with a positive role model, and that’s why we support the Boston Pizza Foundation.
For over 25 years, the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects has been dedicated to connecting kids in need to role models in their own communities so they have the guidance, mentorship, and support necessary to reach their full potential. Boston Pizza provides more than 200,000 hours of mentorship every year, and they’ve provided more than $24 million in donations to date for charity partners like Big Brothers Big Sisters, JDRF, Kids Help Phone, The Rick Hansen Foundation, and Live Different.
How You Can Help
This month you can help kids in 3 different ways!
- Purchase any pizza on February 14th and $1 will go to the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects.
- Order a Future Prospects dessert and $1 will be donated to the Foundation.
- Or give directly by donating $2 for a paper heart. Not only will your heart cut-out help the Foundation and honour your mentor, but you’ll also get $5 off your next meal at Boston Pizza!
Boston Pizza is a fantastic place to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year! Enjoy a dinner out with good food and friendly people, and help connect kids in your community with positive role models who will help them succeed.
Did you have a mentor? What difference did it make in your life?
Win a $50 Boston Pizza Gift Card!
Boston Pizza wants to help one of my readers treat their mentor to a special meal out with a $50 Boston Pizza gift card. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, 18+. Enter in the giveaway widget below. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.