Stephanie Clark has had her share of trials.
Her best friend who she trained with in the fire department was killed in a car accident.
Her mother died in 2008 five days after being diagnosed with leukemia, and her mother-in-law died four months later.
Her daughter is a recovering drug addict who became addicted to drugs after being prescribed pain medication following a car accident.
Clark now uses her past to help women have brighter futures through Southeast Christian Church’s mentor program.
“My past experiences have actually strengthened me for the position that I’m in now helping mentor women who are going through similar struggles,” she said. “As much as I thought it was breaking me back then, it was actually building me up.”
Clark said she wouldn’t be where she is today if people hadn’t poured into her life and mentored her while she was struggling.
“A lot of times when you are going through your toughest times, and you’re like, ‘God, why in the world are You having me go through this?’ I can look back on it now and say, ‘Oh, You were training me,’” she said. “If people can use their struggles as a building tool, they have no idea what they would be able to do later in life by going through that journey and how much help they can be to someone else.”
Southeast’s Care Ministry is looking for men and women to apply to become mentors.
Becoming a mentor includes an interview process followed by six hours of training Saturday, June 29. The training is followed by monthly supervision and ongoing education to keep mentors equipped and supported in the ministry.
“Becoming a mentor does not mean you have it all figured out,” said Linda Allen, Care Ministry leader over women’s mentors. “An effective mentor is someone who has journeyed through their own difficult seasons and is a few steps ahead of someone in need of support and encouragement. Mentoring is a vital and Biblical role to help us grow and mature as believers, but our culture is so busy and distant and individualized that the opportunities to walk alongside one another are missed unless we make intentional effort to be a mentor or be mentored. We all could benefit from both of those roles.”
“A good mentor is someone who is on the healthy side of a life experience/transition or journey,” Clark added. “It is all about providing positive hope and growing their faith and trust in God. They see you’ve been through this journey and now you’re on the other side of it—so there is hope.”
Clark has mentored women dealing with grief and those with family members trapped in addiction.
“You cannot get through this world and this life by yourself,” she said. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to get through life. Nobody should have to go through life by themselves, and the mentor program can help with that.”
Clark currently mentors a woman who has been diagnosed with a mental illness. She has helped her develop a plan for her finances, health and social skills.
“It’s basically just taking a little bit of time to meet the needs of women who need someone to walk with them,” Clark said. “Anybody can do it because I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be a mentor.”
The length of mentorship depends on the situation.
It could be meeting just a few times or a lifelong journey.
“We’re a resource for the hurting,” Clark said. “We can be the resource to help them figure out what are the next steps when (someone says), ‘I’m in this situation, and I have no idea how to get out of here.’”
Allen assigns mentees to mentors who have similar backgrounds. Should an issue be too complex for a mentor to handle, the Care Ministry can refer a client to a professional counselor.
“It’s amazing how it not only helps the mentee but it builds you as a person,” Clark said. “I have learned so much from this. It has made me a stronger person and developed a different side of me.”
If interested in becoming a mentor or being mentored, call (502) 253-8400 or email email@example.com.