A Simple Gesture

Beverly Abate, 68 years old, works as a customer service agent at U.S. Airways, serves as a deacon at United Ohio Presbyterian Church, and is mother to 2 kids and grandmother to 3 grandchildren. Not only is she devoted to her work, church, and family, she also dedicates her time to a mentee named Qiyawni.

Whenever Beverly Abate heard about programs like Big Brother, Big Sister she thought to herself, “I should do that- that would be really nice.” However as she points out, her intentions were always ‘placed on the back burner.’ However, 3 years ago when a representative from Aliquippa Impact spoke at her church, something was different.  “I just felt called to do it. I thought I could make a difference in someone’s life and I signed up right then and there.”

Now Beverly participates in school-based mentoring with 11-year-old, Qiyawni Cox. Every week for 35 minutes the pair meets at Aliquippa Elementary School where they do crafts and play games. Beverly says, “Usually we have a project going and it will last 3 or 4 weeks. Our most recent project was a scrap book of her school and her friends.”

Beverly points out that mentoring can be challenging at times and pushes her out of her comfort zone. She says, “When you become a mentor you are matched up with a kid and they have a need, but you don’t know what that need is. You just hope you’re making a difference.”

One of Beverly’s fondest memories with Qiyawni would suggest she is making a difference. At the end of the school year, Beverly and Qiyawni were invited to a mentor-mentee picnic at Crestmont Alliance Church. Beverly says, “At the picnic, we were playing balloon toss and Qiyawni and I were standing side by side.  She put her arm on my shoulder and that just meant the absolute world to me. It was a sign that she trusted me, she accepted me. We’re with a big crowd and she felt comfortable enough just to do a simple, little gesture like that. That might not sound like much to anyone else, but that just meant the world to me.”

In the fall, Beverly hopes to start community-based mentoring (outside of the school) with Qiyawni.

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