Top requirement of a child’s mentor: consistency

Bill Russell’s reflection on the impact mentoring can have on a community should serve as a reminder that anyone, from any walk of life, can be a mentor and make a meaningful difference in one’s community (“They’re all ‘our kids,’ ” Opinion, July 9).

You don’t need to be a superstar to be a big star in a child’s eyes. You just need to show genuine interest in them and their well-being. You need to prove you care about them as a person.

In my 18 years working with Boston Public Schools students, I have found that the most important characteristic in a mentor is consistency. Building a relationship takes time and patience, especially for today’s socially aware and sometimes skeptical youth. Our kids are clever yet inherently generous with their spirits. We can help them unleash their full potential; we just need to show up. Consistently.

Erin McGrath


The writer is executive director of Boston Partners in Education and a mentor at the Blackstone Elementary School in the South End.