Bob & Jeff
Jeff Day was matched in the Friends for Youth program nearly 15 years ago with Senior Friend Bob Lupient. They first met in October of 1996, when Jeff was 12. At that time, Jeff recalls, he struggled with the challenge of having an incarcerated parent and didn’t know how to be a good student. How things have changed.
Now 27, Jeff recently dropped into the Friends for Youth offices on his way to a college seminar. He sat down with this staff member to reflect on his mentoring experience. “Before I was matched I wasn’t into [mentoring]; I thought I was too cool,” he said. “Now I think it was one of the best things my parents could have done for me. Once I met Bob for the first time I saw he was really cool and I wanted to hang out with him every week.”
Bob and Jeff had a fantastic Friendship. During their year they went snowskiing and waterskiing. They went to baseball games and they went hiking. Through these activities Jeff learned some important skills. Reflecting on the Friendship, Jeff said “Bob taught me some basic, important lings. Like, he taught me how to shake hands. And when I said something inappropriate, he’d tell me why it was inappropriate, and he’d show me how I should act.”
Indeed, much of what Bob exposed Jeff to had a lasting impact. “He took me to a gym for the first time and showed me how to work out,” Jeff said. “Now I work at a gym.”
Jeff is now also working at getting his college diploma. He is set to graduate from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont with a degree in Human Services. In addition to school, he works full time at a gym in Redwood City to support his education.
He also volunteers. When Jeff was asked to do community service for a college class, the first place he went was Friends for Youth. Jeff dropped in a few days each week for more than a month. After he’d completed the required number of service hours for his class, he continued to help, even speaking about his experiences at mentor recruitment events.
When asked about his career goals, Jeff is unhesitant in his response. “My ideal job would be juvenile probation officer or police officer. I always felt like I wanted a job where I could work with people—something that was community-oriented.”
Bob has moved but they still keep in touch.