Growing Up: A hard but beautiful process

This blog post comes from AmeriCorps School-Based Mentor, Preethi Bandri.  Preethi is from Canton, MI and received her B.A in Psychology and Health Studies at Michigan State University. She hopes to continue her education by pursuing a graduate degree in social work and public health. Preethi hopes to work with youth in communities affected by health disparities. Here is what Preethi had to say about her mentoring experience:


“Every person has to live his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people.” –  Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’m a strong believer in the power of listening. As humans, we have a deep desire to be heard and understood. And through understanding, we can feel support and belonging. Inevitably, shaping who we are and the way we live in this world.

I want to work with kids because I know growing up is a hard but beautiful process. It’s the part of your life where you are figuring out the things you like, the dreams you want to have, and the person you want to become. It’s sometimes hard to believe that these things are happening in the midst of awkward lunchroom conversations and trying to figure out how to open a locker, but they are. I enjoy working with kids because I like watching people grow into themselves. I want to be a part of that process. I want to ask the hard questions, and take the time to work through it with them. I want to work through goal-setting and problem-solving. I want to help them realize all their possibilities.

My first mentor was Bria Marcelo. During my sophomore year of college, I joined the Residence Life team at Michigan State University. Bria role modeled the kind of leader I wanted to become. I admired the way she empowered our staff and challenged us to do our best. She led by example, and I learned so much from her. Her unconditional support and genuine nature was evident in everything she did. I knew that I could go to her for anything. And I knew that I wanted to be that for someone else.


I joined Partners in Routt County because of the unique opportunity it offered. I was seeking a position where I could work one-on-one with kids, while also engaging in programming. It’s only been three months so far, and I have already met some incredible kids at Steamboat Springs Middle School. I love spending time with them, playing games, and having real conversations. I’m looking forward to learning more about their lives in the months to come. Thank you Partners for this amazing opportunity. 

In her free time Preethi enjoys reading, spending time with friends, going on adventures, and trying new things. Partners is so fortunate to have such a dedicated and ambitious individual such as Preethi serving in our Routt County schools. She has a clear determination to make a difference in the hearts and minds of her students, and we are proud to support her and encourage her to thrive this year at Steamboat Springs Middle School!