Mentee Profile - Evan Bogan
When Evan was approached about joining Needham Steps Up, he admits he was pretty mixed
about the idea. Close to four years in the program now, he has not looked back! Through NSU,
and just like Evan, dozens of students have been matched with mentors in their Needham High
School Freshman year, and they continue this relationship through their high school careers.
Looking back in time, Evan describes himself as quite shy, and one to avoid difficult or uncomfortable
situations. He remembers how his mentor, Mr. Swanger, “pounded into me that whenever you don't
want to do something, to do it right then and there.” Mr. Swanger shared many stories from his own
life which helped Evan enormously. For example, he learned that by going right in, facing your
reluctance or your fears, you will succeed, and be up and ready for the next round.
The biggest area of growth for Evan has been in his communication skills. “I am no longer afraid to say what's on my mind, and to get my point across.” He is so much more confident - at school, with teachers, with his boss, with co-workers, and with friends and family.
“I also know that if I want something to be different, I have to do something about it.” Evan now knows how to advocate for himself. He's comfortable asking for things he needs - anything from asking for an extension on a paper in school to getting advice on finances. He wisely commented that realizing one needs support and asking for it is actually a strength, rather than a weakness. It simply doesn't work to try to be “tough” all the time. The smart way to be is to recognize and accept when you need help, and go for it! You can accomplish so much more this way…..a central tenet of mentoring.
Evan and his mentor meet less often now than they did in the early years. This is because Evan is more engaged in life now, and has such a packed schedule that he simply does not have the time. He values the mentoring relationship as much as ever, but the foundation is so solid and strong that meeting less often is no compromise. He derives as much benefit from the relationship now as he did in the early years.
A field trip his NSU mentoring cohort took to Mass Bay Community College illuminated for Evan how to think about his future. He was on the path of planning to go directly to a four-year college. During different presentations at this college visit, he learned there are many ways to go, post high school. He is 100% committed to going to a four year college but is also telling himself not to rush or succumb to outside pressures. He already has college acceptance offers but is weighing all his options carefully.
Evan works at the Charles River YMCA in Needham as a counselor, many afternoons a week. His charges are students between the ages of 5 and 14. They do homework together, play sports, and dabble in the arts. He enjoys the challenge of engaging the students with high interest activities as much as possible, being productive, and making things fun.
Evan’s long term goal is to become involved in Politics, ultimately International Relations, and his dream job is to be the U.S. Ambassador to a foreign country. More immediately, he wants to finish high school, enjoy every Senior Event being organized for his grade, and also have a secure post-secondary plan.
When asked what he might say to students who are thinking of joining NSU, he responded, “There's no such thing as a bad experience. Be open to trying new things. I did not realize when I joined NSU how much there was in store for me. It builds you up as a person, changes your view of life, and broadens your scope on the world!”