Can You Be a Mentor?

Francine MarchelleMeet Francine Marchelle, Director of Broad Street Afterschool.  Francine spoke in worship last weekend and shared her expertise, enthusiasm and vision for BSA during a Minute for Mission.  Below, she talks about the effect of a mentor in her own life, as well as her hopes for Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.  She remembers being mentored by her fifth grade teacher, Elaine Pearson.  Ms. Pearson’s interest and care nurtured resiliency and hope in Francine during a period when she needed those gifts.   Decades later, she still recalls Ms. Pearson going the extra mile to show her a different world, including bringing her to a Columbus Orchestra performance of “Peter Pan,” which helped her see herself as an artist with talents to share.  Francine knows firsthand what a difference a mentor can make; how the kindness and coaching of a mentor can convey new life.  Francine’s own experience fuels her commitment to the children and families in Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine expands on her Minute for Mission by responding to a few questions:

How does mentoring benefit kids?
First and foremost, mentoring benefits kids by enabling them to identify new ways to live and think and feel.  Mentoring gives them an experience of a different perspective, a different way to be in the world.  Mentoring models opportunity and establishes a support system.  Kids can ask questions, share concerns and interests with an adult who is not their parent or guardian.

Mr. Ken and MylesHow does mentoring benefit mentors?
We learn from children  how to mentor them.  We participate in the growth and development of children.  Mentoring is an expression of intergenerational learning.  We’re learning, too.  We’re figuring things out.  Mentoring gives us an opportunity to value what we bring to that child.  Often we don’t realize the importance of what we have to offer.  BSA will allow us mentors (coaches and tutors) opportunity to develop a reciprocal relationship with a child.

What is changing at Broad Street Afterschool?
This fall we are moving from homework help to homework coaching.  For example, with coaching the interaction between the child and adult can shift from a conversation only about how to solve 4 + 4 to include the reasons we are doing math. Also, we can coach children to make homework completion a habit of learning.

BSAWhat is one of your goals for Broad Street Afterschool?
We want to reset the bar and encourage more engagement between student and adult.  I will coach our homework coaches.  BSA has always looked at the child holistically.  We want to take this to a deeper level with the goal of children achieving their highest possible level of education.  When children have trouble with schoolwork I always encourage them to say “I am not dumb.  I am smart.  I just don’t know something yet.”

To learn more about being a mentor (homework coach and tutor), call or email Francine at  A training will be held on September 1, 2, and 3, 5:00-7:30 pm, with interested volunteers attending two days. Those interested will be asked to fill out this application.


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