CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Every week, Ryan Perry and Brian Oviedo spend an hour quietly chatting, playing games, just catching up on life.
They started the tradition almost a decade ago, when Brian was in grade school. He’s now a senior at Champaign’s Central High School.
“Well at first it was a bit awkward, because it’s kind of like a stranger and you’re just like spending some time with a stranger … but as time progressed it was a friend,” says Oviedo.
Perry can’t get over how much time has passed.
“Looking back on it — it’s gone by quickly and so it’s hard to believe it’s been that long,” he says.
Perry mentors Brian through CU 1-to-1. The school-based mentoring program is making a push to get 50 more male mentors on board. Years ago, Perry heard about the program at work. He eventually decided he had the time to participate. The rest, you could say, is history.
“At times I felt like he might the one that’s mentoring me, cause sometimes we come and we just meet and I don’t think I’m doing anything,” says Perry. But week by week, he was doing a lot. Sometimes that was being a sounding board. “It’s the constant presence and somebody kind of in his corner,” he says.
Other times, he gave advice about school or Brian’s future plans.
“My SAT score would have been a lot lower if I wouldn’t have taken his advice on taking this SAT prep class,” says Oviedo.
Uno game after Uno game, they established a bond. Both of them learned it’s those quiet hours that can make the biggest difference.
For information on how to sign up to mentor, click here.