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Originally published: 2014-01-24 14:30:06
Last modified: 2014-01-24 14:37:59

Inspiration goes a long way at WYN

by Sherrie Norris

The annual mentoring essay contest sponsored by the Western Youth Network earlier this month proves that mentoring works.

"Who inspires joy in you?" was the theme of the 300 word (or less) competition, with individuals of various ages, and an entire sixth-grade class, participating.

According to Angela McMann, WYN's Mentoring Program director, the response was very positive and offered community members a chance to publicly express thoughts regarding people who have had a positive impact upon their lives.

"The sixth-grade (life skills) class of Hollie Storie at Parkway Elementary School took this project on as a class challenge," McMann said, "and two young women from the class were first and second place winners, overall.

Rebekah Farthing claimed first place honors, with Kayla Trivette in a close second place, with both receiving gift cards as their prizes.

"Our third-place winner was winner was Wriston Hoke, who also won first place in the high school category," McMann said. 

The three winners were scheduled to read their essays live on the local radio station on Wednesday and have agreed to share their entries here.

WYN's Youth Mentoring Program has been successfully operating in Watauga County since 1985 and in Avery County since 2002.

The mentoring program serves High Country Youth between the ages of 6-17. There is no charge to participate and anyone can make a referral. Youth are matched with a mentor who serves as a positive role model and, most importantly, a friend. Mentors must be at least 18 years old and are required to spend two hours per week for at least one year with their mentee.

To learn more about WYN and how mentors can make a difference, contact McMann by calling (828) 264-5174 or visiting




By Rebekah Farthing

"My mom inspires joy in me because she does everything for me. Some things my mom does for me is she takes time out of her day just to do something for me. Like yesterday, she took me to my chorus concert when she had to go to work.

"Another thing that she does for me is she buys me things. Things that my mom buys for me is nice clothes, food, Christmas presents, blankets, a warm bed and many more things.

"I love my mom so much because she taught me to treat others the way I would want to be treated, because it will help you a whole lot in life. My mom also takes me to church where I can learn how to be a good person and she helps me to be the best person I can be.

"I love my mom because she inspires joy in me!"



By Kayla Trivette

"The person that makes the joy in me come out is my great-grandmaw.

"She makes the joy in me come out because she is always so nice to me.

"She helps me when I'm down, she helps me with my homework if I need it, and last of all, she loves me."



By Wriston Hoke

"Ben Erzkus is a Vicar at Grace Lutheran Church. He often helps direct our service. Ben is a seminary student in Maryland, but he is in Boone as a year-long intern.

"The day before school started, I moved in with my younger brother and his old foster parents. On Sundays, my brother and I go to Grace. Ben is in charge of the confirmation class, which is a type of Bible school through which kids confirm their faith. "On Sunday nights, our teen youth group meets for devotions and a meal. Though only a few teens go, Ben is always there to socialize, eat, and pray with us.

"Ben is the best mentor I have ever met. He helps me with advice when I need it. For example, I can tell him about how my week has gone, and if it was a bad week, he will cheer me up with his humor, or he will drive me home while we listen to classic rock on the radio. We both like classic rock and football. "Ben is the person who has influenced me to play football next year. Ben is also great musician. He taught himself to play piano, drums, and guitar.

"One weekend, our teen youth group and leaders decided to go to Lutherock, a church camp, to clean it up. Ben went with us, and while we were there, he taught me how to play chords on a guitar. The Sunday before Halloween, he lent me his own first guitar. It was a Fender that he had bought when he was in high school. Ben has loaned me his guitar until he has to leave next July.

"Ben is very understanding and is one of the best friends I have ever had.