Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a mentor for Poetry Heals?  Welcome to the Poetry Heals Blog “Mentor Musings” where you will get a glimpse into the work of a poetry mentor.   Each week, we work with a wide variety of marginalized populations to provide them with an opportunity to explore and express what is in their hearts.  But it is not just the participants who benefit from the experience.  With each workshop I have mentored since the beginnings of the organization, I experience the joy of making a difference in people’s lives and discovering how to become a better mentor and, more importantly, a better person.  

Gratitude turns what we have into enough

-Maya Angelou

Plink.  The silvery white nickel landed at the bottom of our donation jar.  The lanky man whose hands and face showed many years of hard living had found that lone nickel buried in the torn pocket of his faded jeans.  With that plink a smile grew on his grizzled face that seemed to stretch from his home state of Alabama all the way to Soda Springs Park in Manitou Springs, Colorado.  On that blazing hot, summer day, one of the Poetry Heals mentors had convinced him to come join us for a bowl of delicious, hot soup and to be part of a community consisting of the unhoused, locals and tourists.   Our warm, inclusive approach to all our workshops made a marginalized individual feel like he belonged, if only for a short time.    

As I listened to him tell his story of walking here from Alabama and the impending return journey while that nickel hit the jar, I thought about my own beliefs and behaviors.  I have never experienced having so little and I suspect I would have held onto that nickel for dear life.  At that moment, I grasped how much our clients had to teach me about their worlds.

  -Beth Arrowsmith