May 12, 2017

‘A Promise to Keep’ mentors offer testimonies at luncheon

Compiled by Natlie Hoefer

Five ‘A Promise to Keep’ mentors gave short testimonies at the end of the luncheon honoring the high school mentors at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis on April 20. (Related story: Former ‘A Promise to Keep’ mentor starts program in Iowa)

Following are excerpts from their talks.

Parker WilliamsParker Williams—senior, Roncalli High School in Indianapolis

“Before we begin every A Promise to Keep presentation, our group always goes around and says why we are in A Promise to Keep. I thought I would share this with you: ‘Hi. My name is Parker Williams, I am an A Promise to Keep mentor because I want to be able to give my complete and whole self to my future wife, and I know that if I become involved with drugs and alcohol then I will not be able to attain my goals and dreams of becoming a father and a pediatrician.’ …

“What exactly are we promising? Who are we making this promise to? At first glance, one would think that the only message of A Promise to Keep is about the promise to our future spouse and God to abstain from sex, drugs and alcohol. However, we all know, after looking deeper at this program, that through our mentoring we are helping middle school students in our archdiocese see that they and those around them are made in the image and likeness of God. …

“We must keep the message alive through our actions, and we will do so in the way we treat our friends, family, classmates, strangers, and enemies.”

Katie KnightKatie Knight—senior, Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis

“I remember being an eighth-grader at Cardinal Ritter Junior High and having a group of senior girls coming to talk to us about chastity. I remember that most of us laughed, because we were immature and why would we ever get into that kind of stuff.

“But as I progressed through high school, a lot of the A Promise to Keep values stuck with me. It led me to make good choices about my friends, my after-school activities, and most importantly, about my faith. It’s led me to really think about the consequences of my actions, especially on my family and my peers. It’s made me think about how I impact the junior high kids at my school, both when I’m in their classrooms speaking about my A Promise to Keep topic, and how I conduct myself in the hallways. …

“Because of this community, as my mom would say, I have a good head on my shoulders and a clear path to success. I know what my goals are, and this group has given me the push I needed to stay on track for the rest of my life. I hope in five years, current middle schoolers that I have presented to will have the same thing to say.”

Beth MyersBeth Myers—junior, Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis

“I joined A Promise to Keep partly because of the students who used to come and speak at my school. It is a job that I cannot express enough the importance of. While they may not be experiencing some of the difficult topics we discuss right now, they will in the near future. And it is our jobs to make sure they know and understand that just because your friends and classmates do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. It is also our job to give them the confidence to know and trust their own morals. Because these morals will be tested. …

“A Promise to Keep has not only helped shape my beliefs, but strengthened them. This program has been so vital to helping me become the person I am today, and I know that it will do the same for many others.

“I would like to end with this quote from [St.] John Paul II: ‘Chastity is a difficult long term matter. One must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.’ ”

Ben WilsonBen Wilson—junior, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis

“I came from a public grade school and was not exposed to Promise to Keep when I was young. …

“What originally enticed me to become a peer mentor was the fact that I got to go around to grade schools and actually talk about having good morals and making good choices.

“When I found out what A Promise to Keep was, I immediately thought back to all of the people from my public school and how they could have greatly benefited from this program. I felt called by the Holy Spirit to become a mentor, and I did.

“Since becoming a mentor, I have grown deeper in my faith. I now feel that I have the strongest relationship with God that I have ever had. …

“I notice that my friends who are also peer mentors have a sense of direction in their life that I can only attribute to being a peer mentor for A Promise to Keep.

“However, the main reason that peer mentors exist in the first place are the kids that we mentor. … I believe that A Promise to Keep makes a difference in these kids’ lives. I believe that even if the kids do not originally think anything of what we are saying, that there is a seed that gets planted, just like in Matthew 13, that will one day spark a voice in the back of their heads that will prevent them from making a potentially bad decision.

“It is the planting of that seed that I hold to be the most important thing that we do as mentors. Apart from setting a good example, the most important thing that we can do is plant the seeds of truth.”

Blanca UrzuaBlanca Urzua—senior, Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis

“Being a peer mentor taught me that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to be cool. It has also taught me to be myself and not who others want me to be. …

“I believe that everything I have learned over these years will stick with me forever because I have been prepared for life. This has prepared me by warning me about dangers in life and by helping me learn from these kids that have so much motivation to do the right thing.

“I am so happy that I made the right choice of joining A Promise to Keep, and for our leaders that teach us every day to do the right thing and to be role models for the junior high kids, and not just for them but to be role models for everyone around us.” †

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