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Trouble with a blurry vision

I've thought about this for about a year now.

When I was 12, I was "randomly selected" for a girl's group that excused 10 or so of my classmates and me to sit around a circular table and hold discussions based on the word of the day: friendship, trust, security, truth, religion, leadership, etc. I don't know exactly why I was chosen for the program, but I'm pretty sure it was due to my outspoken tendencies; always challenging teacher's lectures, questioning the morality of our administration, acting out at times, etc. We always began the class with sun salutations while the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" played.

I really learned a lot from that group. All talks were confidential and all the girls were pulled from drastically different backgrounds with a large range of worldviews. Though it was only once a week for a semester, that group has stuck with me.

Because of its impact, and many experiences in my life since then, I've recently started thinking about becoming a mentor-but not an ordinary mentor. It's a bit difficult to describe because I have no idea how I would go about starting this program, so I am reaching out for insight or advice into this line of work.

I'd like to create alternative mentoring curriculum, and get certified in wilderness therapy, yoga, gardening, etc (I know-it's a big goal, and will take a lot of time, but I'm ready to tackle it!) Then I get contracts with schools and organizations to become a temporary mentor, and lead groups. Not exactly sure where I'll get the funding-either apply for grants or create a for-profit business before switching over.

It's not specific to girls or boys, though I could create curricula so I could have some gender-specific groups, depending on the need in the school/community.

I'd also like to incorporate traveling into the idea, so making the curriculum highly adaptable for specific conditions. I plan on taking this contract into multiple regions of the world.

I plan on finding a Master's degree in Direct-Service, International Social Work.

Does anyone have any input on this idea? I feel a little lost in it right now!


Y's picture

I have a 93-year-old Mountain

I have a 93-year-old Mountain Mama in a tiny hamlet in Tennessee who has lived off the land for most of her years. She is too old to garden anymore, but loves to teach others, as she taught me and my husband.

Another good friend in the area is a man who I helped to publish his stories in book form. He lives in the house in which he was raised, typing on a manual typewriter, until recently by the light of kerosene lamps. He collects rainwater and carries drinking water from his mountain spring. He has an outhouse, since he has no indoor plumbing, and grows most of what he eats, mostly raw vegetables. His home is heated by a wood stove; another wood stove is used to make his coffee, oatmeal, and toast for breakfast. He is an avid birdwatcher and self-taught naturalist

Would you like me to ask around in their community to see whether some of the area residents would be willing to assist you in this effort? They are poor in money, but wealthy in knowledge. They would probably take on a group who was willing to trade labor for learning.

Blessings to you.


Tara Celentano's picture

Yes to Trade!


I would greatly enjoy trading labor for learning, though it might be awhile until I can be back in the States with no agenda. I am gathering from your posts that you are a writer/publisher and are writing a book on this woman. Please let me know when you publish this! I intend to travel to Nepal after my Americorps VISTA term and to write a book or series of short stories about the past couple of years worth of adventure. I would love to share stories with you.

Hana's picture


I love your idea, Tara. I think a big key to this is collaborating with others. You don't have to do it all yourself, get all the certifications, and spend time living in every place where you'd like to implement the program. Like Yvette said, connect with those who already have a wealth of knowledge and experience!

A great way to start this is to work or volunteer with a group that is doing something similar (i.e. that uses a similar approach or shares your mission). Not only will you build a network of brilliant, inspired, and experienced people who share your goals, but you will learn so much about how to approach this project -- and what not to do! You will learn skills and perspectives that may be completely unforeseeable to you now.



Tara Celentano's picture

Thank you


Yes. It is all about the journey toward a unique vision, an end in itself. Thank you for your input! I definitely plan on working for non-profits and NGOs who share a similar mission!

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